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:
- "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)
- "your humble assistance" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: Serah Peters <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Serah Peters <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2017 04:04:48 +0900 (JST)
Subject: My Dearest Friend!
My Dearest Friend!
Greetings to you and your family in the name of God.
My name is Mrs.Serah Peters a widow from france Married to late
Mr. Benjamin Peters, I am in a hospital undergoing
treatment for Esophageal Cancer in Manhattan, My late husband worked
with United States embassy in Benin Republic and we were married for
many years without any child before his death. I found your profile
and I decided to contact you, based on this my present health
condition I have decided to donate 15.5 Million Dollars for the Less
Privileged orphanage/motherless babies before I die due to advise
according to my late Husband in my last dream.
Beloved I wish to see this project completed and 25% will be set-aside
for your humble Assistance and 75% will be for the project. I
sincerely believe you are a GOD-fearing person who can help me out and
maintain my last wishes without betray.
Return your humble acceptance mail with your full personal details