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 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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Sandra Hills <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Sandra Hills <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 20:38:04 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Donation From Mrs Sandra Hills
Dear in the Lord,
With due respect and humanity, I was compelled to write to you under a humanitarian ground.
I am Mrs, Sandra Hills a widow suffering from long time illness (Heart Cancer) and (Stroke). I am married without a child to the late Mr Fred Hills who work with Kuwait embassy in Ivory Coast for so many years. I am currently admitted in a private hospital here in Abidjan Ivory Coast because of my illness, and I have some funds that I inherited from my late husband, who died six years ago in a motor accident.
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $3.000.000.00 (Three Million Dollars) with a bank here in Abidjan Ivory Coast, and presently this fund is still held with the bank here in Ivory Coast. Nevertheless, I make up my mind to write you this letter because my Doctor told me recently that I will not last for the next 3 months due to my cancer problem, and this has been bordering me since the day he announced this to me. To this effect, I decided to donate this fund to an honest and God fearing person or an organization that can use this fund for charity and humanitarian purpose, such as building school, orphanage home, building hospital for the poor and also for the propagation of the word of God etc.
I took this decision because I do not have a child of my own that can inherit this fund. When my late husband was alive, he always warned me not to expose his wealth to his relation, because they also tried in many ways to eliminate him because of his wealth. Moreover, I and my late husband are both born again Christians before his death, and his relations has always been angry with him because of the religion he chooses. To this effect, i have decided to follow the instruction of my late husband and will not inform my late husband relations about the existence of t his fund, because they are unbelievers (MUSLIMS).
I have taking this decision on my own to donate this fund for the work of God, because I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul, since I know that with God all things are possible. I will want you to respond to this letter as quickly as possible, because the spirit of God has directed me to choose you for the accomplishment of this doctrine. I expect an immediate response from you, so that I can let you know the next step to follow, since I want the fund to be transferred out of this country because I will go through a dialysis treatment in the next 8 days.
Hoping to receive your reply and remain blessed.
Mrs Sandra Hills