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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Vivian Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Vivian Brown <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 1 May 2017 19:46:06 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Urgent Letter From Hospital
My dear beloved one, this is Ms Ms Vivian Brown from Estonia writing from hospital here in Ivory Coast; therefore this email is very urgent. I want you to know that Iâm dying here in this hospital right now and i don't know if i will see some days to come according to my Doctor. I was informed by my Doctor that i got poisoned and it affected my liver and i can only live for some days. The reason why i contacted you today is because i know that my step Mother wanted to kill me and take my inheritance from my late Father. I have a little adopted child named Andrew C. Brown that i adopted in this Country when my late Father was alive and $3.5 million Dollars i inherited from my late father. My step mother and her children they are after Andrew right now because they found out that Andrew was aware of the poison, and because i handed the documents of the fund over to him the day my step Mother poisoned my food, for that reason they do not want Andrew to
expose them, so they are doing everything possible to kill him.Â
My Beloved, please i want you to help him out of this country with the money, he is the only one taking good care of me here in this hospital right now and even this email you are reading now he is the one helping me out. I want you to get back to me so that he will give you the documents of the fund and he will direct you to a well known lawyer that i have appointed, the lawyer will assist you to change the documents of the fund to your name to enable the bank transfer the money to you.
This is the favor i need when you have gotten the fund:
(1) Keep 30% of the money for Andrew until he finish his studies to become a man as he has been there for me as my lovely Son and i promised to support him in life to become a medical Doctor because he always desire for it with the scholarship he has won so far. I want you to take him along with you to your country and establish him as your son.
(2) Give 20% of the money to handicap people and charity organization. The remaining 50% should be yours for your help to Andrew.
Note; This should be a code between you and my son Andrew on this transaction "Hospital" any mail from him, the Lawyer he will direct you to, without this code "Hospital" is not from the Andrew, the Lawyer or myself as i don't know what will happen to me in the next few hours.
Finally, write me back so that Andrew will send you his pictures to be sure of whom you are dealing with. Andrew is 14 years of age now, therefore guide him. And if i don't hear from you i will look for another person or any organization.
May Almighty God bless you and use you to accomplish my wish. Pray for me always.
Ms Vivian Brown