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.
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Karabou Zuma." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2017 11:00:22 -0000
Subject: Hello Dear,
I will be glad if you can help to make sure this gets to the right places.
It will be my utmost joy in life. At this point of my life, i will be
happy to reach as many people that are reachable no matter the tribe.
I am Mrs.Karabou Zuma a South African Merchant. I have been diagnosed with
Esophageal Cancer that was discovered very late due to my unconcerned way
of caring for my health. This has defiled all form of medication and right
now, i have only about a few time to live according to my medical experts.
I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for
anyone not even myself but my business. Though I am very wealthy, I was
never generous, i was told I was always hostile to people and only focused
on my life as that was the only thing I cared for.
But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than
just wanting to have or make all the money in the world. I believe when
God gives me a second chance to come to this world I would live my life a
different way from how I have lived it. Now that I know my time is near, I
have willed and given most of my properties and assets to my immediate and
extended family members and as well a few close friends.
I have decided to give alms to charity organizations, as I want this to be
one of the last good deeds I do on earth. So far, I have distributed money
to some charity organizations. Now that my health has deteriorated so
badly, I cannot do this my self any more. I once asked members of my
family to close one of my accounts and donate the money, which I have
there to charity organization, they refused and kept the money to
themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be
contended with what I have left for them.
The last of my money which is not known to my family is otherwise they
will also come after it, is US$4.6M a cash deposit that I have with a
Trust Firm. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatched
it to charity organizations and please earn ONLY 20% of the money as your
fee for distribution. I am writing this from my bed where I wait for my
time to come. I pray that God uses you to extend this help to the
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Mrs. Karabou Zuma.