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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Sarah Jones" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Mrs. Sarah Jones" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 15:33:40 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: May the peace of God abide with you Amen.
May the peace of God abide with you Amen.
My name is SARAH JONES. It took me time to summon courage before Emailing you this private letter, am suffering from long time cancer, my condition is serious and according to my late husband doctor, I might not survive it, my late husband deposited Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars (US$7.5M) in an Escrow Telephone Account (E.T.A) in a bank, after he disclosed this to me on his hospital sick bed, he gave me Deposit Certificate he used in Depositing the Fund.
The reason he told me about this secret deposit was that after his death, his relatives will not allow me to inherit his property since we are not yet legally married but I have a child for him, my late husband told me that I can get the fund claimed through the help of a foreigner like you as a clause on the account.
It's obvious my health is critical, I'm scared i might not survive it, I prayed to God and asked him to direct an honest person who will claim this fund and use it along with me for the things that will glorify the name of God, after my prayers, I decided to contact you.
I will appreciate if you send the following information to enable my late husband lawyer who will stand as your representative here in Thailand assist you process and obtain all the necessary documents that will backup the claim.
1. your full name.
2. Your contact address.
3. Your telephone/fax numbers for prompt communication.
Thanks and God bless you as soon as I hear from you for more details.
Mrs Sarah Jones.