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:
- "million 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)
- ",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)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" 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: "Dr. Lena Reenaas Finnanger" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2016 18:48:21 -0700
Subject: Urgent Attention
I need your assistance,
My name is Lena Reenaas Finnanger, I am originally from Sweden but I am presently taking treatment due to my illness, I have been diagnosed with Oesophageal 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 now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world. Due to my failing health, I have decided to give alms to CHARITY ORGANIZATIONS, ORPHANS, THE POOR, THE NEEDY AND THE SOCIETY AT LARGE, I have willed and given most of my properties and assets to my immediate and extended family members as well as a few close friends.
So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the Philippines, Somalia, Haiti and other parts of the world. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore. I have asked members of my family to close one of my accounts with HSBC BANK, and distribute the money to charity organization in Bulgaria and Pakistan, they refused and kept the whole money to themselves.
Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have given to them. The last of my money which no one knows about is the cash deposit of TWENTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS($22,000,000,00) that I have with a Bank abroad. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and distribute to Charity Organizations. Due to my failing health, I had been stopped by the doctor from travelling and handling any external duties/responsibilities.
If you would be able to help me fulfill this last living request, I would need you to get back to me on the following:-
1. Are you in a position to be trusted?
2. Do you have a heart for charity?
3. Would you have any problem(s) locating the right charity and human aid groups?
4. It would be nice to know what charities you have in mind.
I will provide you with all the documents on request. Kindly get back to me, as I am eagerly hoping to hear from you.
Accept my warmest regards and I hope to hear from you soon.
Dr. Lena Reenaas Finnanger.
Private email: email@example.com