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:
- "i will like you to " (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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Lilian Kwame" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2017 12:29:03 +0200
Subject: DEAR IN THE LORD
DEAR IN THE LORD
WRITING YOU FROM THE HOSPITAL
MY DONATION FOR THE WORK OF CHARITY
PLEASE USE THIS FUND FOR THE WORK OF GOD
I AM MRS. LILIAN KWAME, PRESENTLY I HAVE BEEN ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL BECAUSE OF CANCER PROBLEM, AND MY DOCTOR HAS TOLD ME THAT I MAY NOT SURVIVE THIS ILLNESS.
I HAVE A TOTAL SUM OF (ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) THAT I INHERITED FROM MY LATE HUSBAND WHICH I HAVE DECIDED TO DONATE THE FUND FOR A CHARITY WORK THROUGH YOU SO I WANT YOU TO QUICKLY GET BACK TO ME FOR MORE DETAILS.
I ONLY NEED YOUR FULL NAME AND COMPLETE ADDRESS INFORMATION SO THAT I CAN INTRODUCE YOU TO THE BANK THROUGH MY ADOPTED SON TO THE BANK AS THE PERSON I HAVE CHOSEN TO RECEIVE THE FUND ABROAD FOR THE WORK OF CHARITY. PRESENTLY I AM LIVING WITH THE BOY AND HE IS 14 YEARS OLD, SO I WILL LIKE YOU TO
TAKE HIM TO YOUR COUNTRY AFTER THE SUCCESS OF THE TRANSFER.
I COULD NOT DONATE THE FUND TO A CHARITY ORGANIZATION HERE BECAUSE MY LATE HUSBAND SIGNED AN AGREEMENT ONLY TO TRANSFER THE FUND ABROAD BECAUSE WHEN HE DEPOSITED THE FUND THERE WAS A LOT POLITICAL CRISIS HERE IN COTE D’IVOIRE. SO I AM WAITING TO RECEIVE YOUR INFORMATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
MRS. LILIAN KWAME