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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "calvary greetings" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Maria Bahnsen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 2016 18:52:05 GMT
Subject: Calvary Greetings.
Calvary Greetings in the name of the LORD Almighty and Our LORD JESUS CHRIST the giver of every good thing. Good day and compliments of the seasons, I know this letter will definitely come to you as a huge surprise, but I implore you to take the time to go through it carefully as the decision you make will go off a long way to determine my future and continued existence. I am Mrs. Bahnsen Maria aging widow of 64 years old suffering from long time illness. I have some funds I inherited from my late husband, the sum of (12.2Million Dollars) and I needed a very honest and God fearing who can withdraw this money then use the funds for Charity works. I WISH TO GIVE THIS FUNDS TO YOU FOR CHARITY WORKS. I found your email address from the internet after honest prayers to the LORD to bring me a helper and I decided to contact you if you may be willing and interested to handle these trust funds in good faith before anything happens to me.
I accept this decision because I do not have any child who will inherit this money after I die. I want your urgent reply to me so that I will give you the deposit receipt which the COMPANY issued to me as next of kin for immediate transfer of the money to your account in your country, to start the good work of God, I want you to use the 40/percent of the total amount to help yourself in doing the project. I am desperately in keen need of assistance and I have summoned up courage to contact you for this task, you must not fail me and the millions of the poor people in our todays WORLD. This is no stolen money and there are no dangers involved, 100% RISK FREE with full legal proof. Please if you would be able to use the funds for the Charity works kindly let me know immediately. I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality and trust in this matter to accomplish my heart desire, as I don't want anything that will jeopardize my last wish. I want you to take 40 percent of the total money for your personal use while 60% of the money will go to charity. I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality and trust in this matter to accomplish my heart desire, as I don't want anything that will jeopardize my last wish. Please kindly respond for further details.
Thanks and God bless you,
Mrs. Bahnsen Maria