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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Elizabeth Alrich" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 09 Sep 2017 16:54:23 +0200
From Mrs. Elizabeth Alrich from Germany
Residing in South Africa
Address: 51 Dorothy Road, Norwood JHB 2192
Hello My Beloved One.
Compliment of the day, I bring you my greetings; It is true that this letter may come to you as a surprise. Nevertheless, I humbly ask you to give me your attention and hear me well.
My name is Mrs. Elizabeth Alrich from Germany. I was brought up from a motherless babyâs home in my country and was married to my late husband, Dr. Aksel Alrich who worked with our Embassy here in South Africa for a period of 8years before he died. We were married for 30 years without a child before he died in a fatal car accident. Since his death I decided not to remarry.
I am 69 years old, and am suffering from a long time cancer of the breast which also affected my brain, from all indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that, according to my doctors they have advised me that I may not live for the next Few months, this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US$8.5m (Eight Million Five Hundred thousand United State Dollars) with a Bank here in South Africa. Presently this money is still in the custody of the Bank in South Africa. Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next few months due to cancer illness.
Having known my condition I decided to donate this money to Charity, organizations or good person that will utilize this money for helping humanity and the less privilege people in the Society and the way I am going to instruct herein.
I want you to use this money for Charity organizations, orphanages, widows and other people that are in need. I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money. Moreover, my husband relatives are not close to me since I develop a Cancer problem and it had been their wish to see me dead in order to inherit his wealth since we have no Child. These people are not worthy of this inheritance. This is why I am taking this decision.
As soon as I receive your reply I will give you the contact of the Bank in South Africa where this money is deposited. I will also issue a letter of authorization to the bank that will prove you the present beneficiary of this money. I also want you to always put me in prayer.
Any delay in your reply may give me room to look for another good person for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
Hoping to receive your response soonest
Thanks and Remain blessed.
Mrs. Elizabeth Alrich