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:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "calvary greetings" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.helen williams" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Mrs.helen williams" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2014 10:27:53 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Ref:Mrs.Helen Williams,
Calvary Greetings in the name of Almighty God, I want to tell you this because I donât have any other option than to contact you after going through your profile as i was touched to open up to you. I am Mrs.Helen Williams, A widow to Late Dr.Harry Williams (former Counselor of the Benin Embassy in Madrid, Spain. We own Treasure Art Inc and Treasure Crude Oil Marketers; we are very wealthy we have a lot of properties including Shares and houses. I am 69 years old a new Christian convert. I am suffering from cancer of the Pelvic my condition is serious; according to my doctor it is quite obvious that I may not survive the sickness.
My late husband and my only son died in the crash of Swiss air Flight 111 on the 2, of September 1998. After the death of my husband I made up my mind to do the work of God as a missionary. I sold all my husband's properties and shares to enable me raise some money to continue my mission. I raised the sum of US$11.5M(Eleven Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) which I deposited with a Bank here. Now that my sickness has gone to this stage, I am scared and I want the fund to be used for the work of God all over the world.
I have prayed to God to direct me to an honest PERSON who will receive this fund and utilize it for things that will glorify the name of God, after my prayers, I searched your site in the Internet, I found your email address and I decided to contact you to receive the fund. This is on the condition that you will take only 40% of the fund for yourself, 5% for any expenses, while you will use the remaining 55% for the less privileges people in the society.
If you are interested in using this fund for the work of God, please send to me your full name, address, telephone/fax number, occupation and age to enable me give it to the Bank for immediate arrangement to release the fund to you.I will also give you a text of the application Letter which you are going to fill up and send to the bank.
I can not predict what will be my fate by the time the fund will be transferred into your account, but you should please ensure that the fund is used as I have described above.
I await your urgent reply.