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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "George Benson" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2017 16:53:58 +0200
Subject: HELP THE NEEDY
From Mr. George Benson
This letter may come to you as a surprise, but I have to say that I have no intentions of putting you into any form of stress or worries. As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me because I believe everyone will die someday.
My name is Mr. George Benson a business tycoon based in British Virgin Islands. I have been diagnosed with prostate and esophageal Cancer that was discovered very late due to my laxity in caring for my health. It has defiled all form of medicine and right now, I have only about just few months to live according to medical experts. I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone not even myself or my family but my business.
Though I am very rich, I was never caring, I was always hostile to people and only focus on my business as that was the only thing I ever cared for. But now I regret all this, as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world. I believe if God gives me a second chance to come to this world I would live my life a different way from how I have lived it. Since the announcement of the diagnosed with prostate and esophageal Cancer and the time I have to stay on earth, I have decided to give alms to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Bank and how much I deposited there.Please always be prayerful all through and try as much as possible to learn from my lessons in your life.
Also, please assure me that you will act just as I have stated herein. Hope to hear from you soon and God bless you and members of your family. Contact me through my private e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
God be with you.