fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: BETTER JOHNSON <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: BETTER JOHNSON <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 04:43:24 +0900 (JST)
FROM: MRS.BETTER JOHNSON
DEAR BELOVED ONE,
I AM MRS BETTER JOHNSON FROM AMERICA. I AM MARRIED TO MR. EDWARD JOHNSON HE WAS AN EXPORTER IN THE TRADE OF COFFEE AND COCOA IN THE ECONOMIC CAPITAL OF IVORY COAST CALLED ABIDJAN. WE ARE MARRIED FOR TWENTY YEARS WITHOUT A CHILD BEFORE HE DIED LAST YEAR. HE DIED AFTER A BRIEF ILLNESS THAT LASTED FOR ONLY FOUR DAYS. BEFORE HIS DEATH, WE WERE BOTH BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN. SINCE HIS DEATH, I DECIDED NOT TO REMARRY OR GET A CHILD OUTSIDE MY MATRIMONIAL HOME WHICH THE BIBLE IS AGAINST.
WHEN MY LATE HUSBAND WAS ALIVE HE DEPOSITED THE SUM OF $8.7 MILLION (EIGHT MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND U.S. DOLLARS) IN A SAFE PLACE HERE IN ABIDJAN IVORY COAST AND NAMED ME THE NEXT OF KIN TO THE DEPOSIT. NOW THAT HE IS DEAD, I HAVE DECIDED TO INVEST THE MONEY OUTSIDE THIS COUNTRY FOR POLITICAL AND SAFETY REASONS.
PLEASE GET BACK TO ME IF YOU ARE INTERESTED FOR MORE INFORMATION.
YOURS IN CHRIST,
MRS. BETTER JOHNSON.