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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "stay blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Lee Chian <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2019 12:55:20 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Hello My Beloved One.
Hello My Beloved One.
I greet you with the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is true that this letter may come to you as a surprise. Nevertheless, I humbly ask you to give me your attention and hear me well. My name is MrsÂ Lee Chian from CANADA. I am married to Mr Wong Chian who worked with CanadianÂ Embassy in Cote d'Ivoire for a period of 16 years before he died.
We were married for 25 years without having a child before he died after a brief illness. Since theÂ death of my husband, I decided not to remarry due to my religious belief. When my late husband was alive, he deposited the sum ofÂ Ten Million Five Hundred Thousand United State of American dollars (US$Â 10.500,000.00) with a bank in Cote d'Ivoire. Presently this money is still in the custody of the bank in Cote d'Ivoire. Recently, my Doctor told me that I have onlyÂ two months to live due to cancer illness.
Having known my condition I decided to donate this money to Churches, Charity organization or good person that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein.
Before I contacted you, I prayed to God to direct me to the right person who will do the best to fulfill my last wishes. I would be glad if you are ready to fulfill my last wishes. Please I want you to use this money only to support churches, charities, orphanages, children in need of help, people affected by natural and other disasters in need of help. This is the only obligations that are related to my desire to distribute these funds and I want you to handle this project properly. l took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money. Moreover, my husband relatives are not close to me since I developed a cancer problem and it had been their wish to see me dead in order to inherit his wealth because we have no Child. These people are not worthy of this inheritance. This is why I am taking this decision.
I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my ill-health. As soon as I receive your reply, I willÂ contact the bankÂ for more details on how to transfer the money to your account. I want you to always pray for me.
Any delay in your reply may give me room to look for another good person for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.
Thank you and stay blessed.
Your sister in the Lord,
Mrs Lee Chian