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 united state 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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: "Mrs. Michelle Richard" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Jan 2021 13:04:17 -0500
Subject: Happy New Year, Dear
Please read this slowly and carefully, as it may be one of the most
important emails you ever get.I am Mrs. Michelle Richard, I was married to
Late Robert Richard.He used to work with Shell Petroleum Development
Company London and was also a seasoned contractor in the West African
Region.He died on Monday,31 July, 2003 in Paris. We were married for seven
years without a child.
As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I Believe
Everyone will die someday. I have been diagnosed with Esophagus cancer and
My Doctor told me that I would not last long due to my complicated health
I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul so, I have decided to
give alms to charity organizations /churches/Mosque / motherless /
babies/less privileged/widows, as I want this to be one of the last good
deeds I do on earth. So far, I have distributed money to some charity
organizations in the Oman, Algeria and Malaysia. Now that my health has
deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore.
I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and
distribute the money which I have there to charity organization in Mexico,
Singapore, India, Argentina and Pakistan, they refused and kept the money
to themselves.Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be
contended with what I have left for them. The last of my money which no one
knows of is the huge cash deposit of Six Million united state dollars
$6,000,000.00 that I have with a bank in London where I deposited the fund.
I will want you to dispatch it to charity organizations if only you will be
I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this
money, I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going.I know that I
am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. As soon as I receive your reply I
shall give you the contact of the Bank and issue you a letter of
authorization that will empower you as the original-beneficiary of this
I want you to always pray for me,Any delay in your reply will give me room
in sourcing for another individual for this same purpose.If you are not
interested,kindly pardon me for contacting you. You can reach me with or
Reply me at my private e-mail:( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mrs. Michelle Richard