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:
- "dearest one," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Stella Michael <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 5 Dec 2015 02:58:30 +1100
Subject: Re: Dear beloved one
I am Mrs. Stella Michael a widow suffering from long time illness (Cancer),=
there is funds I inherited from my late loving husband Mr. Wolfgang Michae=
l, the sum of $2,400,000 (Two million four hundred thousand dollars) which =
he deposited, before his death, I need a honest and God fearing person that=
can use these funds for God's work.
I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this =
money and I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an ungo=
dly way. That is why I am taking this decision, and my doctor has confirmed=
to me that I have less than three months to live, having known my conditio=
n I decided to donate this fund to a charity or individual that will utiliz=
e this money to assist the poor and the needy in accordance to my instructi=
I want an organization that will use this fund for orphanages, school and c=
hurch, widows, propagating the word and work of God.
Please if you would be able to use these funds for the Lord's work kindly r=
eply me. As soon as I have received your response, I will give you further =
directives on how you are to go about the claims of the said funds.
Thanks and God bless