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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Helen Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Mrs Helen Jones <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2016 17:30:03 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Dear beloved one
Dear beloved one,
My name is Mrs. Helen Jones from France married to Dr. William Jones from Cote D'Ivoire in west Africa who died after a brief ilness. I'm getting old widow suffering from breast cancer. I am currently admitted to a private hospital here in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire , I have some funds I inherited from my late loving husband.
The amount of USD $3,000,000.00 he deposited in one of the banks here and I need an honest and God fearing human who has feelings that can use these funds for God's work and 20% of the total funds will be offer to you for your help, use 10% for any expenses that may occur during the transfer , 70% for the God's work in your country. Please, if you know you will be able to use these funds for said purpose kindly reply me. God bless you.
Mrs Helen Jones