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.
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Marjorie Beattie" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2016 00:38:16 +0100
Subject: Dear Beloved one
Urgent Help Please!
My name is Mrs. Marjorie Beattie a British Merchant. I have been
diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, which was discovered very late, due to
my laxity in caring for my health. This sickness has defiled all forms of
medicine, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according
to medical experts. I have since lost my power of speech and can only
manage to write now; as that has been the only way I am able to
I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for
anyone not even myself but my business. Though I am very rich, I was never
generous, I was always hostile to people and only focus on my business as
that is the only thing I cared for. But now I regret all, as I now know
that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money
in the world. I believe when the Almighty gives me a second chance to come
to this world I would live my life a different way from how I have lived
Now that I know my time is near, I have willed and given most of my
properties and assets to my immediate and extended family members and as
well as a few close friends. I want nature and the Almighty God in Heaven
to be merciful to me and accept my soul and so, I have decided to give the
remains of my wealth to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of
the last good deeds I did on earth.
So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the
Caribbean Island, London and Ireland. Now that my health has deteriorated
so badly, I cannot do this myself any more. I once asked members of my
family to close one of my accounts in Switzerland and donate the money in
the account to the motherless/charity homes across Africa, Europe and
America organizations, they refused and kept the money to themselves. I do
not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have
left for them.
The last of my money which only few of them know of is the (US$8.7M) cash
deposit that I have with a financial firm. I will want you to help me
collect this deposit and dispatched it to charity organizations and please
earn only 40% of the money as your fee for the distribution. Please let me
know if you are interested in helping me out.
May the Almighty God remain with you as you help.
Mrs. Marjorie Beattie.