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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "million 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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Rose Holtsbery <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2017 20:04:26 +0100
Subject: Greetings in the name of God
MRS ROSE HOLTSBERY
Greetings in the name of God,Please let this not sound strange to you
for my only surviving lawyer who would have done this died early this
I prayed and got your email id from your country guestbook.I am Mrs
Rose Holtsbery from London,I am 58 years old,i am suffering from a
long time cancer of the lungs 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 two months,this is because the cancer stage has
gotten to a very bad stage.
I was brought up from a motherless babies home was married to my late
husband for twenty years without a child,my husband died in a fatal
motor accident Before his death we were true believers.Since his death
I decided not to re-marry,I sold all my inherited belongings and
deposited all the sum of 10million dollars with a Bank.
Presently, this money is still with the bank and the management just
wrote me to come forward and claim my money because they have kept it
for so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to
receive it on my behalf since I can not come over because of my
illness or they get it confiscated.
Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital here in Switzerland where
I have been undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. My doctors
have told me that I have only a few months to live.It is my last wish
to see that this money is invested to any organization of your choice
and distributed each year among the charity organization,the poor and
the motherless babies home.
I want you as God fearing person, to also use this money to fund
church,mosque, orphanages and widows,I took this decision,before i
rest in peace because my time will soon be up.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the
Bank.I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you
as the new beneficiary of my fund before the bank.
Provide me with your information so i can send it to the bank as the
new beneficiary and issue you a letter of authorization.
FULL NAMES:__________SEX: _____ AGE: ______MARITAL
STATUS:_______________COUNTRY: ______ CONTACT ADDRESS:
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated
herein.Hoping to hear from you soon.