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. )
- ",500,000" (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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Suzan Catim <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Suzan Catim <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 2015 00:10:56 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Hello Dear.
How are you and your family? I am Mrs.Suzan Catim from
Solomon Islands. Iam married to Mr. Philip Catim who worked with our
Embassy in Ivory Coast for nine years before he died We were married for
eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted
for only four days. Before his death we were both born again Christian.
Since his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my
matrimonial home which the Bible is against. When my late husband was
alive he deposited the sum of $6,500,000 million united. State dollars.
With a security company firm here.
Now, I want you to do me a favour
to receive this fund there in your country or any safer place. Base on
my health condition, my Doctor told me that Iwould not last for the next
Eight months due to cancer problem.Having known my condition I decided
to donate this fund to a church, organization or good person that will
utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want a
church, organization or good person that will use this money for
orphanages, widows and other people including one of the nurses that God
has used mightily in taking care of me. And in the course of her help
to my life, she has lost her job. It will be my almost desire to see
even though that I did not make it, let this very young girl have a cost
to full fill her future.Also this my dream to be accomplished.
will like to let you know that i have paid for all the accumulative
bills for this. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I
Stated herein. Hoping to receive your response immediately.
Thanks and Remain blessed in the Lord.
l remain yours sister in Christ.