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 united states 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Bridget George" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2017 06:09:53 -0400
Subject: Re:Calvary Greetings to you
Calvary Greetings to you,
Dear Child of God,
I am Mrs Bridget George a widow and suffering from cancer (colon). I am from the republic of Sierra Leone to be precised. I lost my husband Dr. Koloma George three (3) years ago after a brief illness. My marriage with him lasted for thirteen years without a child. My late husband lived a very good life.
He deposited the sum of $12,000,000.00 (Twelve Million United States Dollars Only) with a financial institution when he was alive and with my deteriorating health condition this does not appeal to me any longer because my doctor told me that the cancer is at its dangerous stage. Nobody will lay claim to the fund if I die hence I contacted you. As such, I have decided to donate this to a good individual that will utilize it to help the poor, the needy and the less privileges, build schools and name it after my late husband and help the widows. Galatians 6:2 says Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. I need your sincere assurance that you will utilize the fund accordingly.
May God strengthen you,
God bless you,
Mrs Bridget George