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:
- "huge amount of money" (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)
- "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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Timothy <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2021 21:01:44 +0000
Subject: I Have A Donation For You
Greetings to you and your family i am Mrs. Juliana Timothy, A widow to Late
Mr. Johnson Timothy of Ivory Coast i am 59 years old, my late Husband was
working with Bahrain Embassy here in Ivory Coast also doing his cocoa
company business here before his Sudden Death in 2017 by this country
political group who kidnapped him and killed him.
But before his death, he deposited the Sum of $4, Million US dollars with
one of the Bank here in Ivory Coast in a Fixed Suspense Deposit Account
with my name as next of kin and presently i am suffering a pancreatic
cancer sickness my condition is really bad and it is quite obvious that i
wonât live more than two months according to my doctor and i have no Child
who is going to take care of this huge amount of money i am willing to
donate the Sum of $4,Million US dollars for you to help Widows, Orphanages
Home and the Less Privileged ones in the rural and urban areas and to carry
out Charity works in your Country and around the World on my behalf i need
your urgent response.
Your Sick Sister
Mrs. Juliana Timothy.