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:
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned 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: MS MAUREEN GREAVE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2021 19:27:24 +0100
Subject: My beloved in Christ
My beloved in Christ
Permit me to share with you, my desire to go into Godly business
partnership with you.I got your profound contact email from a
computerized data, following my fasting & praying effort searching for
a reliable and trustworthy person to assist me in this venture,I am
Ms.Maureen Greaves,married to late Alan Greaves (PhD) who worked with
(Total SA) the French multinational integrated oil and gas company and
one of the five "super major" oil companies in the world as their oil
rig supplier to Africa 17 years before his death on Christmas Eve
2013. We both are born-again Christians, lay ministers and former
social workers, and my late husband Alan Greaves was church organist
for 40 years before he was attacked and picked up with pickaxes on his
way to midnight mass at St. Savior's Church in Sheffield and died in
hospital three days later, as you can confirm his link as follows:
A year after his murder, organist Alan Graves' widow
...www.dailymail.co.uk The widow of a church organist fatally injured
on Christmas Eve last year played a leading role in an emotional
candlelit service at the spot where he was attacked...
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of ($15.5M) with a
bank in Cotonou Benin where he worked for 17 years last as the (Total
S.A.) Africa drilling rig supplier.I am contacting you because of the
recent report from my Doctor told me that I have some weeks to live
due to cardiac and kidney failure problem, having known my condition,I
seek your concept and permission to present you to the bank as my late
husband foreign investors to retrieve the fund and utilize for
establishing an orphanages home for the poor and needy, and also
propagating the word of God and to endeavor that the house of God is
I shall give you the full detailed documents of the fund as soon as I
hear from you.Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing
another good person for this same purpose.
Hoping to receive your response
Thanks and Remain blessed in the Lord.
I Remain yours sister in Christ.
Mrs. Maureen A. Greaves
(Church Army evangelist).