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:
- 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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "because it still remains the fastest medium of communication" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "might come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Esther" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2021 05:15:37 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: GREETINGS MY DEAR FRIEND
Greetings dear friend
I am happy to know you, but God knows you better and he knows why he has directed me to you at this point, so do not be afraid. I prayed and got your email id and please forgive me for stressing you with my predicaments as I know that this letter may come to you as a big surprise. Actually, I came across your Email from my personal search. Afterwards I decided to email you directly believing that you will be honest to fulfill my final wish before or after my death this message might come to you as a surprise but I chose to reach you through the internet because it still remains the fastest medium of communication through this medium. I am writing this mail to you with heavy sorrow in my heart, this message mighty come to you as a surprise but I chose to reach you through the internet because it still remains the fastest medium of communication through this medium. The internet has been greatly abused. I would have liked to meet you face to face before departing from this mother earth but due to the illness continue to deprive the chance but even if I die in the process of this operation I will still praise my God ALMIGHTY.
My name is Mrs. Esther Heidi. I am a dying woman and I decided to donate what I have to you for charity work/assistance to less privileged people in the society. I am 49 years old and I was diagnosed with cancer about 5 years ago, immediately after the death of my husband, who has left me everything he worked for and because my doctor told me that I would not last for the period of one year due to cancer. Because of my health, I have some funds I inherited from my late husband, the sum of$18.7Million Dollars and I needed a very honest and God fearing who can withdraw this money then use the funds for Charity works. I found your email address from the internet after honest prayers to the LORD to bring me a helper and I decided to contact you if you may be willing and interested to handle these trust funds in good faith before anything happens to me. I want a good person who will use the money to work for God's charity homes and I have chosen you after going through your profile. I want this money to be shared to the next privileged since I do not have a child to inherit the money and my late husband's relatives all are non believers and I don't want my husbandâs hand to earn money to be used in an ungodly way. Hence the reason for taking this bold decision because I do not have any child who will inherit this money after I die. I am desperately in need of assistance and I have summoned up courage to contact you for this task, you must not fail me and the millions of the poor people in our world today. This is no stolen money and there are no dangers involved, it is 100% risk free with full legal proof.My promise for the poor includes building of well-equipped charity foundation hospital and a technical school
This money is still with them and the management just wrote me as the true owner to come forward to receive the money for keeping it soloing 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 where I have been undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. It is my last wish to see that this money is invested to any organization of your choice and distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the motherless babiesâ home. I want you as God fearing person, to also use this money to fund orphanages and widows; I took this decision, before I rest in peace because my time will soon be up. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of them. I am absolutely assuring you that no trouble is involved in this money because this is my late husband money. I want you to take 25% percent of the total money for your personal use while 75% of the money will go to charity. I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality and trust in this matter to accomplish my heart desire, as I don't want anything that will jeopardize my last wish. My account officer warned me that anybody sending to them as the beneficiary for this fund must keep it secret until he or she receives my fund to avoid impersonation and wrong transfer please. Please kindly respond to me immediately for further details
Mrs. Esther Heidi