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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "huge sum of money" (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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Ane Michael" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:37:52 +0800
Please read this slowly and carefully as it may be one of the most
important mails you'll ever get. My name is Mrs.Ane Michael from
Norway and I am very sorry for the attachment, I am a 59 years old
woman. I was married to late Mr. Johan Michael who is my husband, and
also the CEO ROCKSOURCE ASA, Norway, and a seasoned contractor in
Kuwait. He died on, 12th November 2016 in Kuwait.
My late husband and I were married for years without a child of our
own and after his death i decided not to re-marry or get a child
outside my matrimonial home. As I speak to you, i have been diabolized
with congested heart failure, of which the doctors have confirmed and
told me that I would not live along.. After my husband passed away
last year, I realized he deposited a huge sum of money with Security
The money that was deposited in the Security company was a total of
US$9.5million .As I write to you, I feel that the money in the
Security company would be a waste if i die and that is why I have come
to a conclusion of donating the money out to the less privilege and
also the motherless babies home.
My husband's brother is an addicted smoker and drinker who spend his
money on expensive drinks and unnecessary things and so I do not wish
for him to have any of the money which my husband worked so hard for
all his life. After going through your profile over the internet i
decided contact you for friendship and assistance for distribution of
my inheritance. Please, my dear friend I have come to you to help me
carry out this last wish of mine because i am too weak to move about
and also have been confined to a wheel chair for long due to the state
of my health and so I can't travel all the way from here.
It is true that I don't know you, but I have been directed by God to
do this. If you wish to help me, write back to me at your earliest
convenience so that I would direct you on how to contact the Security
Company for the transfer of the funds to you whichever way you may
wish to nominate for this purpose. Please send me your name, address,
occupation, age, sex, marital status and contact telephone numbers to
enable me forward it to the security company for the claim. I will
give you my lawyer contact information for i may not be able to carry
out, I am weak less privilege to write or talk.
I await your urgent reply.
Thanks for your kindness
Mrs. Ane Michael