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:
- "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: Jennifer Cornell <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2016 21:54:03 +0000
Subject: Please help your sister
Hello Beloved One
I am glad to know you, but God knows you better and he knows why he has
directed me to you at this point in time so do not be afraid.
I'm lady Jennifer I have been suffering from ovarian cancer disease and
the doctor says that I have just short time to leave. I am from France
living in (Paris) for seventeen years ago as a business woman dealing on
Now that I am about to end the race like this, without any family
members and no child. I have $7.5 Million Euros including 70 kgs of gold
bars in bank in Ghana but due to my health condition I decided to give
out this sum to a God fearing person who can use it to support to (
orphanage home) I have used the help of some of my family members but
was disappointed as they ate the money that is why I choose you execute
the work of God.
My mind is not at rest as I am writing this letter through the help of
my computer beside my sick bed. I also have instructed the Bank Manager
to release the Fund to whoever that I appointed, but you will assure me
that you will take 40% of the money to help your family and use 60% for
the orphanage homes to enable my heart rest with God. Kindly, promise
on your reply that you will accomplish my desire before sending all the
depository receipt which proof existence of the fund including my pass
port to you.