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:
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Serah Walls" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 05 Apr 2020 09:49:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Calvary greetings to you !
I am Mrs. Serah Walls, a widow to late Robert Walls I am 56 years old, i am now a new Christian convert, suffering from long time cancer of the lung, from all indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that i would only live for a short period, according to my doctors this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage. My late husband was killed during the U.S. Raid against terrorism in Afghanistan, and during the period of our marriage we couldn't produce any child.
My late husband was very wealthy and after his death, i inherited all his business and wealth. The doctors has advised me that i would only live for a short period, so i now decided to divide the part of this wealth, to contribute to the development of the churches all over the world and the less privileged I selected you after visiting the website and i prayed over it.
I am willing to donate the sum of $12,500.000.00 usd$ (twelve million Five Hundred Thousand United States dollars) to the less privileged. Please i want you to note that this fund is lying in a Spanish Bank and upon my instruction, my attorney, who presently is in Spain will file in an application for you for the transfer of the money in your name. Lastly, i honestly pray that this money when transferred will be used for the said purpose, because i have come to find out that wealth acquisition without Christ is vanity.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus the love of god and the fellowship of God be with you and your family i await urgent reply.
Yours in Christ,