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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Sierra Alabi" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2016 14:32:23 +0100
Subject: Dear Beloved Friend.
It is understandable that you may be a bit apprehensive because you do not know me, I am writing this mail to you with serious tears in my eyes and great sorrow in my heart, I decided to contact you due to the urgency of my situation. I want to tell you this because I don't have any other option than to tell you as I was touched to open up to you.
I am a widow because i lost my husband 9years ago, we were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for couple of weeks. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of Four million, Eight Hundred and Sixty Thousand dollars($4,860,000.00)with one of the banks here in Benin, because we earlier had plans of having a charity firm.
Meanwhile, recently, My Doctor told me that I would not last, that i have couple of weeks to live due to Brain tumor/cancer problem. The one that disturbs me most is my stroke sickness. Having known my condition I decided to hand you over this mission to take care of the less-privileged, you will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want you to take 20% of the total money for your personal and family use While 80% of the money will go to charity work" helping people in the street.
Because I grew up as an Orphan and I don't have anybody as my family member. As soon as I receive your reply I shall link you up with the bank.Please kindly contact me back with the following information: Your last name and first name, your exact address and your mobile/house/office telephone contact, and an identification Card such as drivers license or international passport data page so I can forward them to my bank and have you present to the bank as the next person in charge of this fund, so that if i die anytime, the situation will not be complicated.
I count on your goodwill and especially on the proper use of these funds.
Please reply me through my email address.