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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "hundred thousand 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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Angela Griffit <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2021 17:17:52 -1200
Subject: Please I need your urgent response.
Please I need your urgent response.
I am Mrs. Angela Griffith from Houston, Texas, USA but based in West
Africa in Burkina Faso for some time? I would love to give you some
money to make my last wish on earth come true which is charity work to
help me give to the poor masses and less privileged people in your
country. I have stage 4 lung cancer, which is a terminal illness.
I am married to the late Dr. Patrick Griffith who worked for the
United States Embassy in Ouagadougou the capital of Burkina Faso for
ten years before his death in 2015. We were married for thirteen years
without a child. He died of a brief illness that lasted only five
days. Since his death, I have decided not to remarry, while my late
husband was alive, he deposited the sum of 4.5 million US dollars
(four million five hundred thousand US dollars) with a bank in
Ouagadougou , in Burkina Faso. recently I am in the hospital in
Burkina Faso. Please respond so that I can give you more details and
tell you more about myself.
God bless you.
Ms. Angela Griffit