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:
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Rachel M Plowman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2014 03:53:41 -0700
Dear beloved friend,
I know that this letter may be a very big surprise to you, I am giving
you my trust and wish you will give me back the trust i have given you
. I believe that you will be honest to fulfill my final wish before I
I am Mrs Rachel M. Plowman from New Zealand, I am 53 years old, I am
suffering from a long time cancer of the throat. From all indication
my condition is really deteriorating as I can not be able to talk or
speak, and my doctors have courageously advised me that I may not live
beyond the next Six months, this is because of the cancer stage has
reached a critical stage. I was brought up in a motherless baby's home
and was married to my late Husband for twenty years
without a child.
My Husband and I are true Christians, but quite unfortunately, he died
in a Motor accident, so i could not hear the cry of child in my house
Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my belongings
and deposited all the sum of $10.2 million dollars with a bank in Cote
D'Ivoire where we worked in the oil company and lived for more than 18
Presently, this money is still in their custody and the management
just wrote me as the Legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive
the Deposit after keeping it for so long or rather issue a letter of
authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I can not
come over as a result of my illness, Presently,I'm with my hospital
laptop where I have been under-going treatment. I have since lost my
ability to walk about or do anything by myself and my doctors have
told me that I have only few months to live.
It is my last wish to see that this money is invested in any business
of your choice and the gain made every year or 6 months as the case
may be, distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor
and the motherless baby's home where I come from.
I want your good humanitarian, to also use this money to fund
churches, orphanages and widows around and 20% for you , I must let
you know that this was a very hard decision, but I had to take a bold
step towards this issue because I have no further option.
In your reply, i will like you to send to me your contact information
such as your full name, your address, your telephone and fax number.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the
bank. I will also issue a letter of authorization to the bank, which
will prove that you are the new beneficiary of my funds. Please assure
me that you will act accordingly as I have stated herein.
Hope to hear from you soonest
Awaiting your reply
Mrs Rachel M. Plowman.