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.
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Sarah Dav <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2020 05:01:25 -0700
Subject: Dearest One
It is with tears and pains that I am writing this mail from my sick
bed in the hospital in Accra Ghana . My name is Mrs. Sarah Davidson, a
widow to late Mr. Mark Davidson, former owner of PETROLEUM AND GAS
LOGISTICS LTD in Benin Republic . I am 62 years old, suffering from
cancer of the breast. From all indications my condition is
deteriorating and it's obvious that I won't live more than 3 months
according to my doctors. The tumors have deteriorated into the
critical stage. I don't want you to pity me, but I need your trust. My
late husband died in December 2003 in a plane crash in Benin .
During the period of our marriage we couldn't produce any child. My
late husband was wealthy and after his death, I inherited all his
business and wealth. The doctor has advised me that I will not live
long, so I have now made up my mind to spread my wealth to charity &
mercy works in Africa, Asia, America and Europe . Am sorry if you are
embarrassed by my mail. I found your e-mail address online by chance
over a month ago. I prayed & prayed for God to reveal to me if you'll
could be relied upon to see to & administer to my last will. The signs
i experienced convinced me, and i have decided to contact you. But if
for any reason you find this mail offensive, you can ignore it and
please accept my apology.
If you are willing to help me, kindly send me your full name, address,
telephone number, age, and a copy of your passport for proper
My late husband was an Oil tycoon. He has mineral rights all over
Africa . He left the sum of US$8, 500, 000, 00 Dollars only, which he
deposit with a bank in Ghana . I need your help to take-in, &
distribute this funds to charity works & needy homes as i stated above
so that when I die my soul will rest in peace knowing the money served
a purpose rather than being expropriated by the government(corrupt
politicians) at my death because i don't have children that will
inherit,& positively utilize money instead. The funds& distribution
will be entirely at your discretion and control, I hope God gives you
the wisdom to touch very many lives with my generosity (this is my
main concern)By the way 20% of this fund will be for your time and
effort, while 80% goes EXCLUSIVELY to charity. In God's name i beseech
you to get back to me soon.
If you are ready to help me, kindly write to me.
Thanks & God bless you.