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:
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Kate Mel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 22:26:09 GMT
Subject: PLEASE HELP ME.
Dear God's elect,
I believe you will do better than I think,
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. My Name is Mrs. Kate Mel, Am contacting you from my country Tunisia. 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 married to Late Dr. Anthony Mel who worked with Tunisia embassy in Ouagadougou the capital city of Burkina Faso for nine years before he died in the year 2005. We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only five days. Since his death I decided not to remarry again, when my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $7.2 Million USD (Seven million two hundred thousand dollars) with a bank in Ouagadougou,
Presently this money is still in the bank there. He made this money available for exportation of Gold from Burkina mining. Recently, My Doctor told me that I would not last for the period of seven months due to 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 30 Percent of the total money for your personal use While 70 percent 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, just to Endeavour that the house of God is maintained. Am doing this so that God will forgive my sins and accept my soul because this sickness has suffered me so much. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the bank in Burkina Faso and I will also instruct my lawyer to issue you an authority letter that will prove you the present beneficiary of the money in the bank that's if you assure me that you will act accordingly as I Stated herein.
Mrs. Kate Mel