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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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 "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Anna Avakian <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2018 17:01:37 -0800
Subject: Hello My Dear Friend
Hello My Dear Friend
Please read this slowly and carefully, as it may be one of the most
important emails you ever get.I am Mrs Anna Avakian, I was married to
Late Mr.Drew Avakian, He used to work with Shell Petroleum Development
Company Kuwait and was also a seasoned contractor in the Middle East
Region. He died on 31 December, 2010 in Italy.
We were married for seventeen years without a child. After his death I
decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial
home.When my late husband was alive, he deposited the sum of
$6,500,000.00USD in a bank in Ukraine. My Doctor told me that I would
not last long due to my complicated health issues, I have
cancer.Having known my condition I decided to donate these funds to
better the lives of the less privileged need an honest and trust
worthy individual that will utilize this money in accordance with my
I want the funds to be used in funding religious organizations,
orphanages and the less privileged propagating the word of God. I took
this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this
money and my husband's relatives are very unkind to me and I don't
want my husband's hard earned money to be misused. I am not afraid of
death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in
the bosom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the lord will fight
my course and I shall hold my peace. As soon as I receive your reply I
shall give you the contact of the Bank, and my Attorney.
For legitimacy, he will also issue you a Letter of Authorization that
will empower you as the original-beneficiary of this fund. I want you
to always pray for me, Any delay in your reply will give me room in
sourcing for another individual for this same purpose, if you are not
interested, kindly pardon me for contacting you.
Mrs Anna Avakian