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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "@lawyer.com" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Outblaze.com, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Ms Sharon Brady <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Ms Sharon Brady <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 12:39:06 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Dear Friend
Dear Friend,Â Â Â Â My name is Sharon Brady I am a dying woman who have decided to donate what I have to you/ church or any Orphanage home. I am 63 years old and I was diagnosed for cancer 9 years ago, immediately after the death of my husband, who has left me everything he worked for because we had no kids. I have been touched by God to donate the sum of 2.5 Million USD all I have inherited from my late husband to you for the good work of God, rather than allow my relatives to use my husband hard earned funds ungodly.Please pray, that the good Lord forgives me my sins. I have asked God to forgive me and believe he has because He is a merciful God. I will be going in for an operation in less than two hours. Â Â Â Â I decided to WILL/donate the sum of Â to you for the good work of the lord, and also to help the motherless and less privilege and also for the assistance of the widows. At the moment I cannot take any telephone calls right now due to the fact that my relatives are around me and my health status. I have prayed to the lord for weeks to direct me to someone he believes can make good use of this money just the way i have stated in my will and He ministered you to me, i don't know where you are or even if you are a believer,but know the lord can never lie, its you He has selected to help me. I have adjusted my WILL and my lawyer is aware I have changed my will you and he will arrange the transfer of the funds from my account 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. Contact my lawyer with this specified email:Â ( email@example.com ) and tell him that I have WILLED. I know I dont know you but I have been directed to do this. Thanks and God bless. NB: I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task is accomplished as I don't want anything that will Jeopardize my last wish. And Also I will be contacting with youon here as I don't want my relation or anybody to know because they are always around me.Â ( Let me know immediately you get this mail so that i will know what to do next)Â
Regards,Â Sharon Brady