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:
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "stay blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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. Christy Walton" <xx@yy>
Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2019 04:54:48 -0700
Subject: Pls, Reply
I am Mrs. Christy Walton, a citizen of the United States of America; I am widow and a business woman. I have recently been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and a rare heart disease which has defied all medical treatment. I am writing this e-mail to you with heavy sorrow in my heart, it is painful to let you know that I have been suffering from a rare heart disease for the past 7 years; expert diagnosis has shown that that I won't survive the illness and I have few days to live. I am contacting you because I donât have any other option than to tell you as I was touched to open up to you about my project at hand.
In June 2005, I inherited the sum of US$18.2 Billion from my late husband Mr. John T. Walton following his death in a plane crash. Presently, I am worth US$48.1 Billion which rates me as the First richest woman in the world. The intention of this email is to seek for a charitable-minded individual, who can identify a viable and guarantee reasonable distribution of my wealth to the needy. I cannot rely on family and closest relatives anymore, as they did not show responsible behavior when I entrusted part of my wealth to them to distribute to charitable organizations but instead they used the money for their personal needs. To prevent any more mishaps, my attorney will act as a check, monitoring every aspect of the Charity. My will is with my Attorney which my family is fully aware about, but I kept the sum of $14,900,000.00 (Million USD) in a separate bank account which nobody is aware of except my attorney.
Do get back to me via this email email@example.com as soon as you receive this email by providing me with your personal information for further details. Please treat this information as strictly confidential.
I await your response.
Mrs. Christy Walton