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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- 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. RUTH SMITH<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2017 00:17:46 -0700
Subject: READ AND REPLY
Greetings in the name of God my name is Mrs Ruth Smith, Now undergoing medical treatment here in Mauella Hospital Birmingham UK. I am married to Dr. Richard S. Smith.
We were married for Forty five years without a child.Before his death he made a vow to use his wealth for the down trodden and the less privileged in the society. Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home.
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of Five Million Six Hundred and Forty Thousand Euros (5,640,000 euros) with a Finance firm presently, this money is still
with the Finance House. Recently, my doctor told me that I would not last for the next 45 days due to cancer problem. Though what disturbs me most is my stroke.
Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to an individual or better still a God fearing person who will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct here in. I want an individual that will use this fund to provide succour to the poor and indigent persons, orphanages, and widows and for propagating peace in the universe.
I understand that blessed is the hand that gives. I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not inclined to helping poor persons and I do not want my husband's hard earned money to be misused or spent in the manner in which my late husband did not specify.
I do not want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner, hence the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Almighty.
I do not need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health and because of the presence of my husband's relatives around me always. I do not want them to know about this development. With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contacts of my Attorney. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will empower you as the original beneficiary of this fund. I want you to always pray for me. My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation.
Whosoever that wants to serve the Almighty must serve him with all his heart and mind and always be prayerful all through your life.
Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing for an individual for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act according to my specification herein.l. I await your correspondence to my mail. Kindly reply through email@example.com
Mrs. Ruth Smith