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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: MRS MARY EDWARD
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2015 11:26:06 -0500
Subject: My Dear In Christ,
My Dear In Christ, Greetings to you in the most wonderful name of our Lord =
and Savior Jesus Christ.His richest blessings shall be upon you forever. We=
ll,I am Mrs. Mary Edwards,I am 42years old from New York, I am deaf and suf=
fering from a long time cancer of the Lungs which also affected my brain,fr=
om all indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obv=
ious that,according to my doctors they have advised me that I will live for=
the next two months,this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very =
bad stage. I was brought up from a motherless babies home, was married to m=
y late husband for twenty years without a child. My husband died in a fatal=
motor accident.Before his death we were true Christians. Since his death I=
decide did not to re-marry,I sold all my inherited belongings and deposite=
d all the sum of $18.5million dollars with a reputable bank as a fixed depo=
sit amount with interest and most of the interest has gone into my hospital=
bills. Presently,this money is still with them and the management just wro=
te me as the true owner to come forward to receive the money for keeping it=
so long or rather issues letter of authorization to somebody to receive it=
on my behalf since I can not come over because of my illness or they get i=
t confiscated. Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I have bee=
n under going treatment for cancer of the lungs. I have since lost my abili=
ty to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few months to liv=
e.It is my last wish to see that this money is invested to any organization=
of your choice and distributed each year among the charity organization,th=
e poor and the motherless babies home where I come from. I want you God fea=
ring, to also use this money to fund churches,orphanages and widows. I took=
this decision, before i rest in peace because my time will soon be up.As s=
oon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Bank. I wil=
l also issue you a letter of authority that will improve you as the new ben=
eficiary of my fund. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I st=
ated herein. Yours in the Lord, Mrs.Mary Edwards