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)
- "huge sum of money" (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 urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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: "Mrs. Patricia Moore" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2017 02:21:57 +0200
Subject: Mrs Patricia Moore.
Please read this slowly and carefully as it may be one of the most important mails you'll ever get. My name is Mrs. Patricia Moore from United State Of America and I am very sorry for the attachment, I am a 59 years old woman. I was married to late Eng. Bernard Moore who is my husband and also the CEO CABLE, INC. DBA. RON MORELL CONSTRUCTION, San Diego United State, and a seasoned contractor in Kuwait. He died on, 13th October 2016 in Kuwait.
My late husband and I were married for years without a child of our own and after his death i decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home. As I speak to you, i have been metabolized with congested heart failure, of which the doctors have confirmed and told me that I would not live along. After my husband passed away last year, I realized he deposited a huge sum of money with Security Company.
The money that was deposited in the Security company was a total of US$7.5 million .As i write to you, i feel that the money in the Security company would be a waste if i die and that is why i have come to a conclusion of donating the money out to the less privilege and also the motherless babies home,Please take note, after all the process are done with the help from my lawyer to process all the relevant document need for this transactions, You have to take only 35% only from the above total money and the rest 65% you are going to donate it to charity as i have instructed you, because my lawyer is going to control every process to make sure it is done, If you are not willing to carry out this process as i have instructed you, Please do not bother to reply back to me.
My husband's brother is an addicted smoker and drinker who spend his money on expensive drinks and unnecessary things and so i do not wish for him to have any of the money which my husband worked so hard for all his life. After going through your profile over the internet i decided contact you for friendship and assistance for distribution of my inheritance. Please my dear friend i have come to you to help me carry out this last wish of mine because i am too weak to move about and also have been confined to a wheel chair for long due to the state of my health and so i can't travel all the way from here.
It is true that I don't know you, but I have been directed by God to do this. If you wish to help me, write back to me at your earliest convenience so that i would direct you on how to contact the Security Company for the transfer of the funds to you whichever way you may wish to nominate for this purpose. Please send me your name, address,occupation, age, sex, marital status and contact telephone numbers to enable me forward it to the security company for the claim.
I will give you my lawyer contact information below:
Barrister Detlef Eckhard
I may not be able to carry out this process alone because i am weak less privilege to write or talk.
I await your urgent reply through my private email: email@example.com
Thanks for your kindness
Mrs Patricia Moore.