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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Miriam Michel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2019 02:58:24 -0800
Subject: I Need Your Prayer,
This letter might be a surprise to you, But I believe that you will be
honest to fulfil my final wish. I bring peace and love to you. It is by the
grace of god, I had no choice than to do what is lawful and right in the
sight of God for eternal life and in the sight of man for witness of God's
mercy and glory upon my life. My dear, I sent this mail praying it will
found you in a good condition of health, since I myself are in a very
critical health condition in which I sleep every night without knowing if I
may be alive to see the next day. I am Miriam Michel, a widow suffering
from long time illness. I have some funds I inherited from my late husband,
the sum of US$8.5m (Eight Million Five hundred Thousand Dollars) my Doctor
told me recently that I have serious sickness which is cancer problem. What
disturbs me most is my stroke sickness. Having known my condition, I
decided to donate this fund to a good person that will utilise it the way i
am going to instruct herein. I need a very honest and God fearing person
who can claim this money and use it for Charity works, for orphanages and
gives justice and help to the poor, needy and widows and also build schools
for less privilege that will be named after my late husband if possible and
to promote the word of God and the effort that the house of god is
I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly
manner. That's why I'm taking this decision. I'm not afraid of death, so I
know where I'm going. I accept this decision because I do not have any
child who will inherit this money after I die. Please I want your sincerely
and urgent answer to know if you will be able to execute this project, and
I will give you more information on how the fund will be transferred to
your bank account. May the grace, peace, love and the truth in the Word of
God be with you and all those that you love and care for, I am waiting for
Mrs. Miriam Michel.