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:
- 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:
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "hundred thousand u.s 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)
- ",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)
- "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)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: CRYING WOMAN HELP HER <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2019 13:58:20 +0200
Subject: From:Cancerous Ailment Woman Need Your Help
Here writes Mrs. Mary .B. Bills, suffering from cancerous ailment. I
was married to Michael Bills law an English man who works with the
Shell Petroleum Development Company in UK who is now dead. My husband
was also into private practice all his life before his death, our life
together as man and wife lasted for Twenty Two years without child. My
husband died after a protracted illness. My husband and I made a vow
to uplift the down-trodden and the less-privileged individuals as he
had passion for persons who cannot help themselves due to physical
disability or financial predicament.
I can adduce this to the fact that he needed a Child from the
relationship, which never came. When my late husband was alive he
deposited the sum of (US$ 55,500,000.00) Fifty-five Million, Five
Hundred Thousand U.S Dollars which were derived from his vast estates
and investment in capital market a Security Company in South Africa.
Presently, this money is still with a Security Company. Recently, my
Doctor told me that I have limited days to live due to the cancerous
problems I am suffering from. Though what bothers me most is the
Paralysis of both legs that I have in addition to the cancer. With
this hard reality that has befallen my family and me. I have decided
to donate this fund to you and want you to use this gift which comes
from my husbandâs effort to fund the upkeep of widows, widowers,
orphans, destitute, the down-trodden, physically challenged children,
barren-women and persons who prove to be genuinely handicapped
I took this decision because I do not have any child that will
inherit this money and my husband relatives are bourgeois and very
wealthy persons and I do not want my husband hard earned money to be
misused or invested into ill perceived ventures. I do not want this
money to be misused hence the reason for taking this bold decision. I
am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I do not need
any telephone communication in this regard due to my deteriorating
health and because of the presence of my husband relatives around me.
Please I have condition, which says you are needed to come down to
South Africa and be witness on how this fund is changed in your name
as new confided owner, in all my attorney has 20% for all his help to
my family, 10% is for all your expenses and the rest 70% is for you to
invest 40% in motherless/fatherless/widow home, the balance of 30% is
for you too, Sir, if you cannot come down all the coast documentation
will come from you.
Please make sure that you will act just as I have stated herein,
GOD BLESS YOU
Mrs. Mary .B. Bills