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)
- "hundred thousand united states 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:
From: "Mrs Sarah Nolan" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2017 02:25:09 -0700
Subject: Mrs. Sarah Nolan written from Hospital
Good day to you, It's my pleasure to contact you, my name is Mrs. Sarah Nolan from Canada; I saw your contact Email at ministries of commerce and foreign trade departments. I am writing this mail to you with heavy sorrow in my heart, God knows you better and he knows why he has directed me to you at this point of time.
I was married to Mathew Nolan who worked with Canadian embassy in London, England for ten years before he died in 2008. We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only five days and since his death I decided not to remarry again.
My late husband deposited the sum of Five Million, Five hundred thousand United States dollars ($5.5m) in a Bank in London, United Kingdom. He made this money available for exportation of gold from London mining.
Recently, my doctor told me that I would not last for the period of seven months due to cancer problem, and this disturbs me most. Having known my condition I decided to hand you over this money to take care of the less-privileged. I hope You will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct. I want you to take 40 percent of the total money for your personal use, while 60% of the money will go to charity and helping the orphanage.
I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not even good at all, they are the ones responsible for his death in other to have all my late husband properties. I don't want my husband's efforts to go to those that conspired for his death. I grew up as an orphan and I don't have anybody as my family member.
Once I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the bank and I will send authorized letter that will prove you the present beneficiary. Also I want you to meet with the Bank for the claim because I dont need any delay.
I contacted you because I dont have any other option and whoever that wants to serve God must serve him in spirit and truth because God is the most high. Please always be prayerful all through your life. Im doing this so that God will forgive my sins and accept my soul because this sickness has suffered me so much. Im hoping to receive your reply soon.
Mrs. Sarah Nolan