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)
- 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)
- firstname.lastname@example.org or email2: email@example.com mrs. joan r. gates shanghai united family hospital shanghai china. dear (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "THE GATES FOUNDATION" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2017 09:25:21 +0800
Subject: MY BEST & LAST WISHES. CONTACT ME NOW FOR MORE DETAILS
Mrs. Joan R. Gates
Shanghai United Family Hospital
I saw your profile on linkedIn. I am from Panama. I was married to Mr. James R. Gates, who worked with China National Petroleum Corporation as a foreign contractor (Expat) in Beijing for nine years before he died in September of 2016. We were married for twenty years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only 6 months.
Before his death, we were both devoted to humanitarian works and gave to charity. When my husband was alive he deposited the sum of ($2million USD) in the bank here in China which is still with the bank currently and is yet to be claimed or withdrawn. Reason is because I need someone I can trust with the deposited funds. I know that you are a total stranger though; my mind spiritually led me to choose you from the people search directory.
Recently, my doctor told me that I have serious sickness which is cancer of the lungs so I am not able to talk or have oral communications and this is leading to other kinds of illnesses. I decided to donate these funds to charity organizations and orphanages be it Christians OR Muslims, as my late husband and I believed we were all created by one God despite todays religious misunderstandings in higher places.
Reply me with the following information.
Your Full Name___________________________
Your Contact Address___________________________
Country Where You Now Live_______________________
Please note that you must not delay because today can be my last.
Mrs. Joan R. Gates.