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:
- 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 us 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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Bernice Shelton" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2018 23:33:37 -0700
Subject: Good day,
I am Bernice Shelton, a 56years old widow from Texas USA. My late husband (Larz shelton) was a Marketing agent to a Russian Oil and Gas Company and we have been living in Europe since 2006. My husband died in 2014 after a brief illness and its been like hell living without him because we had no child. Meanwhile I have been suffering from pancreatic cancer and my health condition has really deteriorated that the doctor said I may not live up to two months.
My husband and I really worked through the years to acquire lots of wealths and properties but I have come to realize that death is stronger than wealth and life itself is a vanity. This is the most critical period of life, knowing that you will die and yet all your wealth can not save you. I have come to understand that a fulfilled life is not measured by the amount of money you stocked in the bank nor properties acquired, rather a fulfilled life is measured by the number of people you positively impacted when you're alive.
This is the reason I am contacting you so that you would be my humanitarian service partner in distributing my wealth to the charity Organizations, Motherless babies and Less privileges in your country. I wanted to do this humanitarian services by myself but I am in a Hospital here in India and I have been booked for a surgical operation next week. I dont know if I will survive this operation but my honest desire is to have a place in heaven after this fruitless sufferings, hence I am making this final efforts to transfer my funds and assets to you if you can sincerely do this Humanitarian service on my behalf.
The fund in question is the sum 2.6Million US dollars which is deposited in a bank in Europe. If you are sincerely interested in partnering with me in this service, kindly respond and give me more details about yourself and your religion.
Upon your reply I will give you more details about the project, how to retrieve the funds from the bank and how to distribute it to the neccesary organizations and individuals. You will definitely keep part of the funds for yourself but you must ensure that at least 70% of the funds is distributed accordingly. I believe that God directed you to me and I hope you will sincerely render this service so that my soul will rest in peace and God will bless you.
Please respond to my private email email@example.com