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:
- "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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Sarah Reynolds <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Sarah Reynolds <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2018 01:10:06 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Reply Please
Dear in Christ.
I am writing this mail to you with heavy tears in my eyes and great sorrow in my heart, it's true we do not know one another but My spirit led me to write this email.
I am Mrs. Sarah Reynolds a widow to late Martin Reynolds, I am 63 years old, suffering from long time Cancer of the breast. From all indications my condition is really deteriorating and it's quite obvious that I won't live more than 2 months according to my doctors. I have some funds I inherited from my late husband, the sum of (US$10.5 Million Dollars) which he deposited in a Vault with a security/Finance Firm.
I need an honest and sincere Individual or a cooperate organization that will use the fund for work of humanity, My late Husband made me to understand that is good to remember the orphanage home the widows and the poor in need. Expecting your urgent response.
I look forward to your prompt reply for more details contact my personal email address:
Mrs. Sarah Reynolds