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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million american 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)
- ",000,000" (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:
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 03:50:12 +0000
Subject: Be blessed
It is good writing you today although we haven't known nor met each other before. It is true that this letter may come to you as a surprise. Nevertheless, I humbly ask you to give me the benefit of doubt and hear me out.
My name is Maria Donson. I am married to Mr. Francois Kadem Donson who Based in in Ivory Coast ( Cote D'ivoire ) as an Investor for a period of 19 years before he died . We were married for 12 years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days.
Since his death I decided not to remarry due to my religious belief. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US Dolla 11,000,000 (eleven million American dollars ) with a Bank in Cote D'ivoire. Presently this money is still in the custody of the Bank in Cote
D'ivoire. Recently, my Doctor told me that I might not live for more than Eight months more due to my cancer illness.
Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to an organisation or good person that will utilise this money the way I am going to instruct herein.
I want the organisation or good person that will use this funds to help the orphans, widows and other people that need financial assistance. Using part of this money to build companies and establish businesses that will create job opportunities for the jobless population. l took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money . Moreover, my husband relatives are pagans and it had been their wish to see my husband dead in order to inherit his wealth since we have no son. These people are therefore not worthy of this inheritance. This is why I am taking this decision.
I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my ill-health since my husband's relatives are around me always. I don't want them to know about this development for security reasons.
As soon as I receive your reply I will give you the contact of the Bank in Cote d'ivoire where this fund is deposited. I will also issue a letter of authorisation to the bank that will prove you the appropriate beneficiary of this money. I also want you to always remember me in your prayers.
Any delay in your reply may give me room to search for another good person for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
Hoping to receive your response soonest.
May GOD bless you for all you do in His name.
Mrs. Maria Donson