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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "million pounds" (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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Berty Voets" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2017 12:37:00 -0700
Subject: Please Read
my name is Berty Voets. I'm a 51 years old woman from Saarbrucken Germany, suffering from cancer of the throat. From all indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that I can't work or do any stressful thing, according to my doctors they have advised me that I may not live for the next two months, this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage. I was brought up in an orphanage home, and was married to my late husband for twenty years without a child.
My Husband Cheng Lee was Korean but he died in a fatal motor accident, before his death we were true Christians. Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of $8.3 million Pounds with a security company in the UK, the security company just wrote me and told me in the letter that they can have the funds released to any approved person authorized by me. Presently, i just got a laptop from the doctor here in the hospital in India where I have been undergoing treatment for my sickness. I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have few weeks to live. It is my last wish to see at least 70% of this money donated/invested to any organization/business of your choice and distributed each year among the charity organization, e.g. the poor homes, the orphanage home where I was raised.
Now What i seek is a responsible and honest person like you, who will carry out my last wishes and before I emailed you today I prayed and I got the confidence to send you this message. I took this decision, before I rest in peace because my time will soon be up. As soon as I receive your reply I will give you the contact of my attorney, who will assist you get this done and subsequent supervise you.
All i need from you is a confidential assurance that the funds when received by you will be used for the said purpose, Nowadays there are so much scams going on in the internet and it is difficult to trust but I dont know why my mind still approved me to message you about this, i have been constantly deceived by loved and trusted ones, now i do not have much time to live i believe i have nothing to lose.
Contact me immediately at email@example.com if you believe you can handle this.