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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "i will like you to " (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)
- "god fearing " (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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Rebecca Lemonde" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2019 07:13:52 -0700
Subject: From: Mrs.Rebecca Lemonde
Greetings to you and sorry if this message comes to you as a surprise. My name is Mrs. Rebecca Lemonde, widow to Mr Martin Lemonde, an engineer and investor, who died 2 years ago of a heart attack. I found your email address through my husband's internet data base. I am writing you this message via a lap top on my sick bed at the hospital where I am undergoing medical treatment. I have been diagnosed with cancer of the uterus or endometrial cancer. Unfortunately for me, my doctor has indicated I don't have any chance to survive except if a miracle comes my way. I have spent a lot of money on medical treatment with no improvement.
I inherited US$5,500,000. from my late husband which is being held in his account at the Finance and Security Company. I wish to know if I can trust you to use the funds for charity projects.
I am writing you this letter because I need a good, honest and God fearing person who can use US$5,500,000. which my late husband deposited with the Finance and Security Company earlier before his death two years ago. Due to my condition now, I decided to donate this fund to a charity organization.
On your confirmation to assist me in this humanitarian project, I will give instructions to the Finance and Security Company to transfer this fund to you so that you can donate it to charitable organizations and projects of your choice. I don't have any biological children of my own who will inherit this fund. My relatives and my husband's relatives have plundered so much of my wealth since my illness and I cannot live with the agony of entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them. If you agree to assist me, I will nominate you as my beneficiary. Time is of essence. The financial institution has sent me a notice that the length of time agreed upon to hold my funds is expiring soon.
Please, help me to fulfill this goal before I die. Please if you are willing to help me fulfill this great work of God for charity, I will like you to contact me today for further instructions in this, God's project.
You can reach me via e-mail at: email@example.com
I look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, please pray for me.
Sincerely your sister in Christ,