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:
- "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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "calvary greetings" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Pierre Fatim." <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 19 May 2017 04:56:18 GMT
Subject: Calvary Greetings and compliments of the seasons.
Calvary Greetings and compliments of the seasons.
I sent this mail praying for it to reach you in good health, since I myself are in a very critical health condition in which I sleep every night without knowing if I may be alive to see the next day. I am Mrs. Pierre Fatim, a widow suffering from long time illness. I have some funds I inherited from my late husband, the sum of Eighteen million eight hundred thousand United States dollars. My Doctor told me recently that I would not last due to the illness. Having known my condition, I decided to donate this fund to a good person that will utilize it the way I am going to instruct herein. I need a very honest and God fearing person who can claim this money and use it for Charity works, for orphanages, widows and also build schools for less privilege that will be named after my late husband if possible.
I accept this decision because I do not have any child who will inherit this money after I die.
Please I want your sincerely and urgent answer to know if you will be able to execute this project, and I will give you more information on how the fund will be transferred to your bank account.
I am waiting for your reply.
Mrs. Pierre Fatim.