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 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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2016 07:49:18 +0200
Subject: DEAREST IN CHRIST
DEAREST IN CHRIST,
I AM MRS. SARAH GAMMON, A DEAF WIDOW TO LATE ENGR. SYDNEY GAMMON FROM
COLUMBUS OHIO,USA. PRESENTLY IN UK RECEIVING TREATMENTS
,I AM NOW A NEW CHRISTIAN CONVERT, SUFFERING FROM LONG
TIME CANCER OF THE BREAST,FROM ALL INDICATION MY CONDITIONS IS REALLY
DETERIORATING AND IT IS QUITE OBVIOUS THAT I WON'T LIVE MORE THAN THREE
MONTHS, ACCORDING TO MY DOCTORS,THIS IS BECAUSE THE CANCER STAGE HAS
GOTTEN TO A VERY BAD STAGE. MY LATE HUSBAND WAS KILLED DURING THE U.S.
RAID AGAINST TERRORISM IN AFGHANISTAN,AND DURING THE PERIOD OF OUR
MARRIAGE WE WERE UNABLE TO PRODUCE A CHILD.
AFTER HIS DEATH,I INHERITED ALL HIS BUSINESS AND WEALTH.THE DOCTORS
HAS ADVISED ME THAT I MAY NOT LIVE FOR MORE THAN THREE MONTHS,SO I NOW
DECIDED TO USE PART OF THIS WEALTH,AND DONATE UNDER YOUR SUPERVISION TO THE
DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHURCH IN AFRICA,AMERICA ASIA, AND EUROPE.I
PRAYED OVER IT, I AM WILLING TO GIVE THE SUM OF $17.6MILLION DOLLARS TO THE
LESS PRIVILEGED.RIGHT NOW THE FUNDS ARE DEPOSITED WITH A BANK
IN UK.YOUR HELP WILL SAFE MANY LIVES IN THE WORLD,LET GOD TOUCH YOUR
HEART TO HEAR MY CRY.
LASTLY, I ALSO WANT YOU TO ASSURE ME THAT WHEN YOU RECEIVE THE FUND IT
WILL BE USED FOR THE SAID PURPOSE. MAY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS THE
LOVE OF GOD AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF GOD BE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY I
AWAIT URGENT REPLY.
YOUR'S IN CHRIST.
MRS. SARAH GAMMON