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:
- "dearest one," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2018 08:39:42 +0200 (SAST)
Subject: FOR YOU
Good day Please kindly be honest to me. My name is Mrs. Sofia Shaw, I am a
dying woman who had decided to donate what I have to the Charities. As you
know bad people in the world have spoil the image of good people. Please I
don't want you to ignore this massage.
I am 75 years old and was diagnosed with cancer about four years
ago, immediately after the death of my husband. I have been touched to
donate from what I have inherited from my late husband for the good work
rather than allow his relatives to lavish my husband's hard earned fund.
As i lay on my sick bed, I want you to help me in carrying out my last
wish on earth which will also be very profitable to you. I want to WILL a
total sum of $5.5 million USD to you which I want you to distribute part
of it to any charity home for me and the rest for yourself and your
I will inform you on how to share all, please for further information
contact me ASAP. I will be looking forward to hear from you.
MRS SOFIA SHAW.