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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Margaret Dotley" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2019 07:27:40 -0800
Subject: PLEASE DO MY LAST WISH ON EARTH.
Goodday to you,it is good to write you this mail from the depth of my heart
with all sincerity and honesty, I am Margret Dotley, A widow to the Late Mr.Dotley,
who was a big business merchant in Europe and Hong Kong,Asia.
I am 65yrs old and I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer which has defile
all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live,
according to my doctors and medical experts,i have finally been transferred to my
hometown and my bad health is gradually terminating my life and right now my days on
earth are numbered and I have not particularly lived my life so well,as I never really cared
for anyone (not even myself) but spending time taking care of the crude oil business my late
husband left behind for me and now it is time to join my late husband in heaven and I have
decided to donate and share my assets and estate to transfer my wealth as alms to the
poor and destitute people in your country and across the nation as I want this to be one of the
last good deeds I do on earth when i die. so that my soul can rest in peace, I believe that you
are the right person to accept and receive this funds,assets and real estate to transfer my wealth
as alms to the poor and destitute people for my last wish to come true and you will also benefit
and be entitled to some part of the funds and assets for yourself and family for doing the good works,
i shall be waiting for your fast reply,so that i can send you more details and information to start.
I await your urgent reply at my private emailbox at: firstname.lastname@example.org