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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Debra" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2016 20:27:36 +0100
Subject: Thank You So Much>>>
My dear friend . Remain blessed in the name of the Lord.
I know this letter might come as a surprise to you especially since we have never met or discuss before, basically the message might sound strange but it is factual in reality if only you care to know.
The truth is that I should have notified you first through a more confidential means, (even if it's at least to respect your integrity) please accept my humble apologies if I Had caught you unawares, I frankly do not mean any harm in passing my message. For security reason and also due to what is happening over the internet now are days, the details of my personality and that of my late husband will be directed to you via my private email as soon as I receive your response to my request below.
I am woman undergoing medical treatment at moment. I am married to a lovely and gentle man who worked with Chinese embassy in Maylaysia for nine years before he died in 2011. We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days. Before his death we were both born again Christians. I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home. When my late husband was alive he deposited Million/thousand U.S. Dollars) in a Finance/Bank. Presently, this money is still with the Finance/Bank in EUROPE.
Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not Last for the next Five to Eight months due to cancer problem. Though what disturbs me most is my stroke.Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to church or better still a Christian/individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct here in. I want you to use this to funds help the widows, orphanage. The Bible made us to understand that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not Christians Nor Muslims, and I don't want my husband's hard earned money to be misused by unbelievers. I don't want situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner, hence the reason for taking this bold decision.
Please, for now i don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health, and because of the presence of my husband's relatives around me always. I don't want them to know about this development. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Finance/Bank in EUROPE. I shall also send a letter of authority to the Bank that will empower you as the original- beneficiary of this fund. I want you and and your family to always pray for me because the lord is my shepherd. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. Whoever that wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and truth. Please always be prayerful all through your life.
Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing for a church or Christian individual for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
Hope to hear from you.
Remain blessed in the name of the Lord.