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)
- "keep this confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: " Mrs. Christy Walton" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2017 00:58:18 +0200
May the peace of the Lord be with you as you read this letter. I know it will definitely come to you as a surprise, but I implore you to take the time to go through it carefully. My name is Christy Walton and I am an American Citizen, I am widow and a business woman. I have recently been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and a rare heart disease which has defiled all medical treatment. Expert diagnosis has shown that I have few days to live. I am worth $41.7 (Billion US Dollars) which I inherited from my late husband Mr. John T. Walton which rates me as the First richest woman in the world.
The intention of this email is to employ the expertise of a Charity minded individual, who can identify a viable and guarantee reasonable distribution of my wealth to the needy. I cannot rely on family and closest relatives anymore, as they did not show responsible behavior when I entrusted part of my wealth to them to distribute to charitable organizations but instead they used the money for their personal needs.
To prevent any more mishaps, my attorney will act as a check, monitoring every aspect of the Charity. My will is with my Lawyer which my family is fully aware about, but there is 5% of my Bank worth which is $2.85 (Billion US Dollars) which nobody is aware of except my attorney.
Do get back to me as soon as you receive this e-mail for further details. Please endeavor to keep this confidential. I await your response.
God bless you.
Mrs. Christy Walton