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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "liberia" (a location commonly mentioned 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:
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 2016 08:23:14 -0500
Subject: Dear beloved??
I'm Mrs.Sandra Bricks
PLEASE ENDEAVOR TO USE IT FOR THE CHILDREN OF GOD. I am the person named above. I am married to Mr. Edward Bricks an American , but I am now in the UK General Hospital taking treatment for my illness, who worked with the US embassy in LIBERIANO for nine years before dying in 2014. We got married For eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted only four days. Before his death we were both born again Christians. Since his death I have decided not to remarry or have a child outside of my conjugal home that the Bible is against.
When my husband was alive he deposited the sum of $ 16.9 million (Sixteen Million Nine Hundred thousand US dollars) with a bank. Currently, this money is still in the custody of the Reserve Finance Company. Recently, my doctor told me that he would not Last for the next three months because of my cancer problems.Although what bothers me most is my stroke and ear tight. After knowing my condition I decided to donate this fund to the church or better yet a Christian or Muslim individual who will use this money the way I am going to send here. I wanted a church that uses this fund in, orphanages, deaf and widows and poor fools propagating the word of God, and to ensure that God's house is maintained. The Bible made us understand that blessed is the hand that gives. I made this decision because I have no children who inherit this money and my husband's relatives are not Christians and I do not want hard earned money from my husband to be misused by unbelievers. I do not want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly way. Hence the reason for making this bold decision.
As soon as we receive your response I may forward your personal information, such as your full name, your full address, telephone number and fax number with my lawyer so that he will contact you as the legal owner of my fund before the bank goes to Be transferred to the designated bank account in your country.
I will also issue you a letter from an authority that supports you as the next family property and the original beneficiary of my fund. I want you and the church to always pray for me because the Lord is my pastor, you will also have to promise me that you will not sit in the background when you put it in your bank account. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. Whoever desires to serve the Lord must serve Him in spirit and truth. Please, always in prayer throughout your life, any delay in your response will give me room in search of a Christian church or individual for the same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I have said in this document. Hoping to hear from you ASAP.
Remain blessed in the name of the Lord.
yours in Christ,