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:
- "million united state 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Hellen" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Mrs.Hellen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2014 03:44:28 +0900 (JST)
Subject: PRAISING GOD FOR HIS GOODNESS
Greetings in the name of God !!!
let my letter not be a surprise to you. My name is Mrs. Hellen Coleman from Philippines. I am a sick woman who has decided to donate what I have to charity through you. You may be wondering why I chose you. But someone has to be chosen. I am 68 years old and was diagnosed for cancer about 2 years ago, immediately after the death of my husband who had left me everything he worked for when he was working in our Embassy for nine years before his death . I am suffering from a long time cancer, which also affected my heart.
My husband and I are Christians, but is quite unfortunately, he died by poisoning. l will be going in for an operation, and I pray that I survive the operation. I have decided to donate the sum of $2 Million United State Dollars to charity through you for the good work of the lord, and to help the motherless, less privileged and also for the assistance of the widows.
I inherited a total sum of $2million dollars from my late husband, the fund was deposited in one of the famous Bank here in Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire. Presently, I have informed the Bank about my decision in WILLING this fund to you. I wish you all the best and may the good Lord bless you abundantly, and please use the funds well and always extend the good work to others. If you are interested in carrying out this task, I will kindly want you to write me back for further direction and on how to carry out this task.
I know i have never met you but my mind tells me to do this with you and I hope you will act sincerely.
Your beloved sister in Christ
Mrs. Hellen Coleman