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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "Mrs Karen Franklin" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 4 May 2017 12:42:50 +0400
Subject: PRIVATE ACCOUNT OFFICER
Greetings to you
I am Mrs Karen Franklin, I was married to Dr. Van Karen, who worked with National Iranian South oil company (NISOC) for twenty three years before he died in the year 2006, May be you must have heard about him in the oil firm. We were married for thirty-seven years without a child. He died during one of the war in Iran. He was held hostage and slain to death by protesting youths of the region.
Before his death we were both devoted Christians. Since his death I decided not to re-marry. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum USD$5,000,000.00 (Five Million U.S. Dollars) with Bank. Presently, this money is still with the Bank and the management just wrote me as the beneficiary to come forward to receive the money or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf if I can not come over.
Presently, Im in the hospital where I have been undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only less than (2) two months to live.
It is my last wish to see that this money is invested wisely and at the end of every year funds are distributed among charity organization.
I want a reliable and honest person that will use this money to reach to the motherless and also less privileges, to reach to the Katrina Hurricane, the sick that has no body to take care of them, the poor and widows and to set up a Cancer research.
If you are willing and honest enough to do my wishes, as soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the lawyer who will give you the documents/details of the transaction and guide you through the process.
My Barrister will issue letter of authorization that will prove you as the new beneficiary of this fund.
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated therein.
Please do all things possible to make my wish come through.
Email Me On: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hoping to hearing from you soon.
Mrs Karen Franklin