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.
- 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: "Mrs. Cindy Esther Chao." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2021 11:18:58 +0800
Subject: Re: Hello My Dear,
Hello My Dear,
I am Mrs. Cindy Esther Chao the wife of late Mr. Richard Chao. I am a
Indonesian American Citizen my husband worked with the Brunei Shell
Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd (BSP) for twenty years before he died in the year
Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my
matrimonial home. When my late husband was alive we deposited the sum
of $5.2 million in a safe place which i will tell you later. The
management just wrote me as the beneficiary to come forward to sign
for the release of this fund or rather issue a letter of authorization
to somebody to receive it on my behalf if I can not come over.
Presently, I'm in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment
for esophageal cancer. My doctor have told me that I have only a few
months to live. It is my last wish to see this money distributed to
charity organizations, Because my husband relatives and friends have
plundered so much of my wealth since my illness, I cannot live with
the agony of entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them.
Please, I'm seeking for any honest person who will get the Funds. And
use this money to fund the poor, orphanages, widows and charity
I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit
this money and I don't want my husband's hard earned money to be
misused by his greedy relatives.
I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly
manner. Hence the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not
afraid of death hence I know where I am going if i die.
Due to the state of my health. I can not communicate by phone because
my illness have affected my throat. I prefer to communicate by email.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact detail`s
of my family lawyer who is conversant with the unclaimed funds and my
Above all, the transfer will follow the normal protocol of funds
transfer, backed up with its papers so that you will not encounter any
difficulties/problem with your Federal Monetary Control authorities.
Contact me with my private email ( email@example.com ).
Mrs. Cindy Esther Chao.