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)
- "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)
- "% will be for you" (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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Wendy Jane Williams." <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Mrs. Wendy Jane Williams." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2016 02:40:28 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Hello my beloved in the Lord
Good day Dear friend,
First and foremost, I apologize using this medium to reach you for a transaction of this magnitude. I got your email contact when I was searching on the internet then I came across your email and decided to send you my divine charity task/proposal. I am Mrs. Wendy Jane Williams I am 75 years old base in South Africa. I write to Relate to you of my intention to use my money 20.5 million dollars for charity work in your country. I was married to Late McCauley Scott Williams who was a contractor with the Government of South Africa before he died for plane crashed in 2000 in Kenya airways. I am a new Christian convert, suffering from long time cancer of the breast. All indication from my doctor that my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that I wouldnât live more than three months, according to my doctors and in all indication regards to medical analysis.
This is because the cancer disease has gotten to a very bad stage that no hope for me to be a living person again.30 years period of marriage life, still we could not produce any child, my late husband was very wealthy and after his death, I inherited some part of his business and money in the bank. The doctors has advised me that I may not live for more than Three months and 2 weeks and warn me to stop thinking over who is going to inherit my money, today I have decided to donate contribute to the less privileges, charity and orphanage homes. I want to know if I can trust you to use these funds for charity / orphanage and others E.TC. And 30% will be for yours as compensation. Please contact me, so that I will give you more details.
I choose you after viewing your profile and I have confident in you because I have prayed. I am willing to donate the sum of $20.5m. U.S.Dollars, to the less privileged. May the grace of our Lord the love of God and the fellowship of God be with you and your family? I count on you; please keep praying for me as I will be praying for you too.
Remain blessed, Thanks,
Please further discussion contact me with my Email Address: email@example.com
I await urgent reply.
Mrs. Wendy Jane Williams.