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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "trunk box" (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)
- "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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Grace Martins <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2015 03:43:05 -0700
Subject: From Mrs.Grace Martins.
>From Mrs.Grace Martins.
Dearest in Christ,
With Due Respect And Humanity, I was compelled to write to you under a
humanitarian ground. My name is Mrs.Grace Martins, I am married to Mr Roland
Martins a director in a trading company here in Cote d'Ivoire.We were married
for 36 years without a child. He died after a Cadiac Arteries Operation.
And Recently, My Doctor told me that I would not last for the next Eight
months due to my cancer problem and stroke). Before my husband died he
deposited a trunk box containing the sum of Two Million Dollars in a
Security Company here In Ivory Coast. And the contents of the trunk box
was declared by my late husband as family valuables for security reasons.
Presently, the trunk box containing this funds is still in the Vault of the
Company. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to any
good God fearing man or woman that will utilize this fund the way I am
going to instruct herein. I want somebody that will use this fund
according to the desire of my late.husband to help Lessprivilaged people,
orphanages,widows and propagating the word of God. I took this decision
because I don't have any child that will inherit this fund, And I don't
want in away where this money will be used in an unGodly way. This is why
I am taking this decision to hand you over this Fund.
I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going.I want you to
always remember me in your daily prayers because of my up coming Cancer
Surgery.Write back as soon as possible any delay in your reply will give
me room in sourcing another person for this same purpose.
God bless you as you as I hope to hear from you as soon as possible.
Your's Sister In Christ,