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:
- 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:
- "million us 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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "my names are " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Joyce Praise <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:27:11 -1100
Subject: CRY FOR HELP FROM MY HOSPITAL BED
Greetings, please let this not sound strange to you. My only surviving
lawyer who would have done this for me died recently .
I prayed and got your email address from a guestbook. My names are Joyce
Praise from AUSTRALIA, I am 55 years old, I am suffering from a long-time
cancer of the lungs which also affected my brain, from all indication my
conditions are really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that, according
to my doctors they have advised me that I may not live for the next One
Year and this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage. I
was brought up from a motherless baby's home and was married to my late
husband for seven years without a child, I and my husband moved down to
United States his home country six years ago during the time he got a
Government Contract worth over $100,000,000 and we decided to settle in the
country because of my husband's interest for America. Not long ago my
husband died in a fatal motor accident, before his death we were true
believers. Since his death I decided not to re-marry, I sold all my
inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of Ten Million US Dollars
with a Bank.
Presently, this money is still with them and the management just wrote me
as the true owner to come forward to receive the money and the valuables
for keeping it so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to
somebody to receive it on my behalf since I cannot come over because of my
illness or they get it confiscated. Presently, I'm with my laptop in a
hospital here in London where I have been undergoing treatment for cancer
of the lung. It is my wish to see that this money is used for investment
purposes in any profitable business venture and also, I would want 10% of
the total Fund released to Charity Organization and for the less privileged
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Hoping
to hear from you soon. Please do respond to my private email only at
Waiting for your reply
Mrs. Joyce Praise