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 us 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)
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Marinarin Vivian Akoma." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mrs Marinarin Vivian Akoma." <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:25:29 +0900 (JST)
Subject: CAN YOU HELP ORPHANAGES
My Dear beloved one.
I am Mrs Marinarin
Vivian Akoma widow suffering from long time illness cancer and fibroid
problems, there is funds I inherited from my late loving husband Dr Johnston
Akoma. Who was into Estate management and also a government building contractor
before he died in 2010.he deposited the sum of $5.5million US dollars [Five
million five hundred thousand US dollars] with a finance company before his
death, I need a honest and God fearing person that can use these funds for
I took this decision
because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and I don't want a
situation where this money will be used in an ungodly way. That is why I am
taking this decision, and my doctor has confirmed to me that I have less than
three weeks to live, having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to
a charity or individual that will utilize this money to assist the poor and the
needy in accordance to my instructions. I want an organization that will use
this fund for orphanages, school and church, widows, propagating the word and
work of God.
Please if you would
be able to use these funds for the Lord's work kindly reply me. As soon as I
have received your response, I will give you further directives on how you are
to go about the claims of the said funds.
Yours Sister in
Mrs Marinarin Vivian