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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- "remain blessed" (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Mariam Thomsen <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2018 20:54:28 -0200
Subject: Can I Trust You??
How Are You Doing?
I Am Mrs Mariam Thomsen From Belgium A Widow To Late Gail T. Fletcher i Decided To Maintain My Maiden Names After My Husband Died. I Am 55 Years Old And I Am Suffering From Long Time Cancer Of The White Blood Cell/bone Marrow (leukemia) And From All Indication My Conditions Is Really Deteriorating And It Is Quite Obvious That I Would Not Live More Than Few More Months, To Say 2 Months But By Grace Maybe More.
According To My Doctors, This Is Because The Cancer Stage Has Gotten To A Very Bad. My Late Husband Died Last Five Years,and During The Period Of Our Marriage We Couldn't Produce Any Child. My Late Husband Was Very Wealthy And After His Death, I Inherited All His Business And Wealth And Since He Had No One Else In The World But Me, In Fact, We Both Had Only Us In This World. The Doctors Had Advised Me That I May Not Live For More Than 2 Months, So I Have Decided To Divide The Part Of This Wealth, To Contribute To The Development Of Churches, Schools, Orphanage Homes And To Helping The Less Privileged Low Life People In Africa, America, Asia,and Europe.
It May Come As A Surprise How I Got Your Email And Started Sharing My Stories With You As A Total Stranger. Yes! I Have Less Than A Year From All Approximation To Stay In This World So I Had Email List Sent To Me And I Had To Write You After So Meditations. I Am Willing To Donate The Sum Of $22,600.000.00usd (Twenty Two Million Six Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) To Carry Out The Projects I Mentioned Above.
Please I Want You To Note That The Fund Is Lying In A Security Company, Insured And Immediately I Receive A Reply From You, I Shall Furnish You With More Details And Procedures On How To Get This Started And Done And Also In Addition, I Will Forward You All The Information You Will Need To Getting The Fund Released From The Security Company And To Be Transferred To Your Account.
I Honestly Pray That This Money When Transferred To Your Account Will Be Used For The Said Purpose As It Is The Wish Of A Dying Woman And Should Be Honored.
I Wait Patiently To Reading Your Reply.
Email : (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks And Remain Blessed.
Mrs Mariam Thomsen.