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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Elvi Meigh <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 2 May 2020 10:33:43 +0100
Subject: Hello My Beloved One In Christ.
From Mrs. Elvi Meigh.
Hello My Beloved One In Christ.
I greet you with the name of our Lord Jesus Christ it is true that this
letter may come to you as a surprise. Nevertheless, I humbly ask you to
give me your attention and hear me well. My name is Mrs. Elvi Meigh from
Israel. I am married to Mr. James Meigh who worked with our Embassy in
Ivory Coast (Cote Dâivoire) for a period of 16 years before he died.
We were married for 25 years without a child before he died after a brief
illness. Since his death I decided not to remarry due to my religious
belief. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US$6.5m (Six
Million Five Hundred Thousand United State American dollars) with a Bank in
Cote D'ivoire. Presently this money is still in the custody of the Bank in
Cote dâIvoire recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the
next Four months due to cancer illness.
Having known my condition I decided to donate this money to churches,
organisation or good person that will utilise this money the way I am going
to instruct herein.
I want you to use this money for churches, Charity organisation,
orphanages, widows and other people that are in need. l took this decision
because I don't have any child that will inherit this money . Moreover, my
husband relatives are not close to me since I devolop a Cancer problem and
it had been their wish to see me dead in order to inherit his wealth since
we have no Child. These people are not worthy of this inheritance. This is
why I am taking this decision.
I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my
ill-health. As soon as I receive your reply I will give you the contact of
the Bank in Cote d'ivoire where this money is deposited. I will also issue
a letter of authorisation to the bank that will prove you the present
beneficiary of this money. I also want you to always put me in prayer.
Any delay in your reply may give me room to look for another good person
for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I
Thanks and Remain blessed.
Yours sister in the Lord,
Mrs. Elvi Meigh