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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "mrs.mercy Linao" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2017 17:21:55 +0200
Subject: Greetings Dearest Beloved,
Greetings Dearest Beloved,
I know that this letter may be a very big surprise to you, I came
across your email contact from my personal search and I instructed the
doctor here in this hospital to help me email you and i believe that
you will be honest to fulfill my final wish before i will give up. I
am Mrs.Mercy Linao , I am 66 years old,From Solomon Islands, and I am
suffering from a long time cancer of the breast. From all
indication my condition is really deteriorating,and my doctors have
courageously advised me that I may not live beyond the next three
months, this is because the cancer has reached a critical stage.
I was married to late Dr. Anthony Spagnolo, a contractor with UNITED
NATIONS in Burkina Faso, West Africa, where we live all our Lives for
Thirty-two years before he died. But is quite unfortunately, He died
after a Cardiac Arteries Operation that lasted only for four days.
Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my inherited
belongings and deposited all the sum of $8.2million dollars with a
Bank in Ouagadougou- Burkina Faso, where we spend our life together
with United Nations as contractor.
Presently,this money is still in their custody, and the management
just wrote me as the Legitimate beneficiary to come forward to receive
the money after keeping it for so long or rather issue a letter of
authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I cannot
come over as a result of my illness, or they get it confiscated. It is
my last wish to see that this money is invested in any
organization of your choice and distributed each among the charity
organization, the poor and the motherless baby's home where I come
I want your good humanitarian, to also use this money to fund
churches,orphanages and widows around. I must let you know that this
was a very hard decision, but I had to take a bold step towards this
issue because I have no further option. I hope you will help see my
last wishes come true. l took this decision because I don't have any
child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are very
devilish not even good at all because they are the one that
responsible for the death of my husband in other to have all my late
husband properties and I don't want my husband's efforts to be used by
those that conspired for his death.
I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my
health hence the presence of my husband's relatives around me always.
I don't want them to know about This development and I know that With
God all things are possible.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the Details. Please
assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Hope to
hear from you soonest.
Thanks and Remain blessed in the Lord.
Yours Sister in Christ,