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:
- "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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" 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: Patricia Gunnarsson<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 18 Apr 2020 02:58:54 -0700
Subject: Charity work..
My Dear Beloved in Christ
Greetings to you and your family. I am Mrs. Patricia Gunnarsson from Ireland and a widow to late Mr. George Gunnarsson of Ireland too, my late Husband and I was living here in London before the death of my husband and my late husband was a Director with the Construction Company here in London before his Sudden Death in 2013, but before his death, he Deposited the Sum of $3,200,000 with one of the Bank here in London in my name and i am suffering from pancreatic cancer, My condition is really
bad and it is quite obvious that I won’t live more than 2-3 months according to my doctors, and i have no Child who is going to take care of this Huge amount of Money.
I am willing to donate this sum of $3,200,000 to you for you to use 60% of the funds to help widows and the less privileged ones in the rural and urban areas and then you have to use he remaining 40% of the fund for yourself and your family.
If you accepts to do this charity work for me, please contact me via my private email for more information: email@example.com
Remain blessed in the name of the Lord.
Mrs. Patricia Gunnarsson