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:
- "million us 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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Sandra Nanah" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2016 02:22:46 -0700
Subject: My Dearest,Please get back to me
I am writing this mail to you with heavy tears In my eyes and great sorrow in my heart, My Name is Mrs Sandra Nanah, and I am contacting you from my country Ghana 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 married to Mr. Vincent Nanah who is an oil explorer in Libya and Kuwait for nine years before he died in the year 2006.We were married for twelve years without a child.
He died after a brief illness that lasted for only five days. Since his death I decided not to remarry, When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of 10.7 Million Us Dollars (Ten Million Seven hundred Thousand Dollars) in a bank in Accra the capital city of Ghana in west Africa Presently this money is still in the bank. He made this money available for exportation of Gold from Ghana 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 money to take care of the less-privileged people, 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% of the money will go to charity" people in the street and helping the orphanage. I grew up as an Orphan and I don't have any body as my family member, just to endeavor that the house of God is maintained. Am doing this so that God will forgive my sins and accept my soul because these sicknesses have suffered me so much.
As soon a s I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the bank in Ghana and I will also issue a letter of authorization to the bank authorizing them that the said fund has being willed to you and a copy of such authorization will be forwarded to you.that is if you assure me that you will act accordingly as I Stated herein.Until I hear from you by email my dreams will rest squarely on your shoulders.
Mrs Sandra Nanah