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:
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Helen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2021 11:00:31 +0100
Subject: DONATION FOR YOU
Dearest in Christ,
Greetings in the name of our lord Jesus Christ. As you read this, I
don't want you to feel sorry for me, because I believe everyone will
die someday I am Mrs. Helen Coleman, an aging widow suffering from
long time illness, I am currently admitted in a private hospital here
in Abidjan Cote D' Ivoire.
I bring peace and love to you from God and our lord Jesus Christ.It is
by the grace of God that I received Christ,Having known the truth,I
had no choice than to do what is lawful and right in the sight of God
for eternal life and in the sight of man for witness of Gods mercy and
glory upon my life.
I know this proposal will definitely come to you as a huge surprise,
but I implore you to take your time to go through it carefully as the
decision you make will go a long way to determine my future. I Mrs.
Helen Coleman an ageing widow suffering from long time illness breast
Cancer and Cancer of the lungs.
I have some funds which I inherited from my late husband, the sum of
USD $2 Million and I needed a very honest and God fearing person who
can receive this funds for Charity works.
Please if you would be able to use the funds for the Charity works
please kindly let me know immediately. Please kindly respond quickly
for further details if you can handle this task.
Regards, Mrs. Helen Coleman