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. )
- "hundred thousand united states 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 merchant" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Joe Kendal" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2016 18:11:24 -0000
As you read this, don't feel sorry for me, because it is the destiny of everybody to die someday. I am Mr. Joe Kendal,a naturalized Briton by birth and a business merchant based in the United Kingdom. suffering from a long term Esophageal Cancer.
It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts. I regret that I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone, but my trade. Though I am very well to do, I was never open handed; I was always hostile to people and regarded them like they never had hopes of becoming as successful as myself. Now I know that there is a lot more to life than just prosperity.
I believe that when I am given a second chance to come to this world, I would live my life a different way from how I have lived it. Now that death is eminent, I have willed and given most of my belonging to immediate and extended family members, as well as a few close friends. I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul. Hence I have decided to support charity work. this is what i want to be remembered for. So far, I have been able to reach out to a few charity organizations in the Singapore, Algeria and Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore.
I once asked members of my family to aid me in giving of alms to those organizations catering for the less privileged in America and Pakistan; they refused and kept the resources to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contented with what I have given to them. I sold all my remaining belongings and deposited all the sum that I have in a safe keeping company abroad, The total amount is $300,000 ( Three Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) deposited with a security company in Nigeria. which I will want you to secure and bestow to charity organizations. I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner, hence my bold decision to contact you, a total stranger. Since my health is regressing by the minute, you will have to tell me a little about yourself. why I have decided to contact you is because I have no child or devoted relation who could reliably execute my will.
With the information, I will make arrangement to prepare the Authorization for you to get possession of the Deposit when you re-confirm you are interested in your next email to me.
Until I hear from you, I pray that this letter bring you and your family good tidings.
God be with you.