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:
- "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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Wendy Jane Williams" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2019 04:04:06 +0000 (UTC)
Hello Respectfully ,
I am writing this mail to you with heavy tears in my eyes and great sorrow
in my heart. As I informed you earlier, I am (Mrs.)Wendy Jane Williams.
from South Africa. and a widow to late McCauley Scott Williams I had no
children of my with my late husband; I am 63 years old, suffering from
long time Cancer of the breast. From all indications my condition is really
deteriorating and it's quite obvious that I won't live more than 3 months
according to my doctors.
I have some funds I inherited from my late loving husband McCauley Scott
Williams, the sum of ( 20.5 million dollars) which he deposited in a Bank
I need a very honest and God fearing person that can use these funds for
Charity work, helping the Less Privileges ETC., And 20% of this money will be
for your time and expenses, while 80% goes to charities. Please let me know
if I can TRUST YOU ON THIS to carry out this favor for me. I look forward
to your prompt reply for more details contact my personal email address:
Mrs. Wendy Jane Williams.