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:
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Deborah Beckman" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 2 Apr 2016 05:12:19 +0100
Subject: Crave Ur Help
My name is Mrs. Deborah Beckman. I am a dying woman who has decided to donate what I have to you/church. My husband was a contractor with Texaco oversea for over 10yrs. He died in 2014. I am writing this from my sick bed.
I am 59 years old and I was diagnosed with cancer for about 2 years ago, few months later my husband passed away. My husband left me everything he worked for and because the doctors told me I will not live longer than some weeks because of my health, I have decided to WILL/donate the sum of 2,700,000 (Two million seven hundred thousand dollars) to you for the good work of humanity, and also to help the motherless and less privilege and also for the assistance of the widows. I wish you all the best and may the good Lord bless you abundantly, and please use the funds well and always extend the good work to others.
Contact my lawyer Mr. Jason Todd (email@example.com) I have notified him and he await your contact. I know I dont know you but I have been directed to do this. Thanks and God bless.
NB: I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until the task is accomplished. My late husbands family are trying to control the funds, so I don't want anything that will jeopardize my last wish.
My regards and love to you and your family
>From Mrs. Deborah Beckman.