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:
- "dear beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million us 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)
- 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. Ursula Nasser Zhang Wei <Jennytt@mtradepartner.com>
Reply-To: Mrs. Ursula Nasser Zhang Wei <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 15 May 2021 08:53:24 -0700
Subject: Re: Top Revelation
I just want to apologize for any inconvenience this email may
cause you. I am Mrs.Ursula Nasser Zhang Wei, by name, I am
childless and a widow and I am 68 years old. I was married to
late Engr. Zhang Wei from China, who worked with China Petroleum
and Chemical Corporation in Wuhan China for Twenty-Six years
before he died last month because of Covid-19 after a brief
illness that lasted for only five days.
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of 3.6
Million US Dollars in a bank. Following my ill health (Cancer of
the Lungs) as i tested Positive in Covid-19, From all indications
my condition is really deteriorating and it's quite obvious that
I won't live more than 1 month according to my doctors. This is
because the Covid-19 and my cancer stage has gotten to a very bad
stage, I don't want your pity but i need your trust. I am looking
forward to seeing someone who can use this money in charitable
works. More details will be made known to you upon your response.
Do revert back to me via ( email@example.com )
Mrs. Ursula Nasser Zhang Wei