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.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Pauline Robert" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Mrs. Pauline Robert" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2016 00:21:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Remain blessed in the name of the Lord
I am Mrs Pauline Roberts from Texas. I am married to Mr. John Roberts who worked with United States Embassy for Twenty-two years before he died in the year 2008. 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 and we lived happily. Since his death, I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is really against.
When my late husband was alive he secured $10.5 Million (Ten Million, Five Hundred thousand U.S. Dollars) with a financial institution here in Texas. Presently, this money is still with the financial institution. Recently, my Doctor told me that from all the test conducted on my health, I am not going to last long, especially, due to my cancer and stroke. But what disturbs me most now is stroke.
Having known my condition, I decided to donate this fund to the motherless and also less privileges, the sick that has no body to take care of them, the poor and widows and to set up a Cancer research. I Also want you to use this money for the propagation of the work of God, building and maintaining the house of God through this money, is very important.
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. I don't want my husband's hard earned money to be misused by unbelievers, for their own selfish interest and in an ungodly manner. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bossom of the Lord.
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 sometimes. I don't want them to know about this development, but I know that With God all things are possible.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of my lawyer who will issue you a Certificate of Inheritance from the Court making you the Beneficiary of the deposit. My lawyer will also give you all information regarding the deposit of this money. I want you and your church to always pray for me. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. Please always be prayerful all through your life.
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Contact me on my email (email@example.com) for more details. Hoping to hear from you soon.
Remain blessed in the name of the Lord.
MRS Pauline Roberts.