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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "because it still remains the fastest medium of communication" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "is 100% risk free" (almost true for the criminal trying to scam you - arrests of online criminals are rare)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Elisabeth Peter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2021 06:51:23 +0100
Subject: HELLO MY DEAR FRIEND
Greetings dear friend
I am happy to know you, but God knows you better and he knows why he
has directed me to you at this point, so do not be afraid. I prayed and got
you email id from your country's ministries of commerce and foreign trade
departments. I am writing this mail to you with heavy sorrow in my heart,
this massage mighty come to you as surprise but i chose to reach you
through internet because it still remains the fastest medium of
communication through this medium internet has been greatly abused. Please
give me this little chance to explain myself to you, I would have like to
meet you face to face before departing from this mother earth but due to
the illness continue to deprive the chance but even if I die on the process
of this operation I will still praise my God ALMIGHTY.
My name is Mrs Elisabeth Peter i am a dying woman and i decided to
donate what I have to you for charity work/assistance to less privileged
people in the society. I am 50 years old and I was diagnosed of cancer for
about 5 years ago, immediately after the death of my husband, who has left
me everything he worked for and because my doctor told me that i would not
last for the period of one year due to cancer problem. Because of my
health, I have some funds I inherited from my late husband, the sum of
($17.1Million Dollars) and I needed a very honest and God fearing who can
withdraw this money then use the funds for Charity works. I found your
email address from the internet after honest prayers to the LORD to bring
me a helper and i decided to contact you if you may be willing and
interested to handle these trust funds in good faith before anything
happens to me. I want a good person who will use the money to work for Gods
charity homes and I have chosen you after going through your profile. I
want this money to be share to the next privileged since I do not have a
child to inherit the money and my late husband relatives all are non
believers and I don't want my husbandâs hand earn money to be used in an
ungodly ways. Hence the reason for taking this bold decision because I do
not have any child who will inherit this money after I die. I am
desperately in keen need of assistance and I have summoned up courage to
contact you for this task, you must not fail me and the millions of the
poor people in our today world. This is no stolen money and there are no
dangers involved, is 100% risk free with full legal proof.
This money is still with them and the management just wrote me as
the true owner to come forward to receive the money for keeping it so long
or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my
behalf since I cannot come over because of my illness or they get it
confiscated. Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital here in where I
have been undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. It is my last wish
to see that this money is invested to any organization of your choice and
distributed each year among the charity organization, the poor and the
motherless babiesâ home. I want you as God fearing person, to also use this
money to fund orphanages and widows; I took this decision, before I rest in
peace because my time will soon be up. As soon as I receive your reply I
shall give you the contact of them. I am absolutely assuring you that no
trouble is involved in this money because this is my late husband money. I
want you to take 20 percent of the total money for your personal use while
80% of the money will go to charity. I will appreciate your utmost
confidentiality and trust in this matter to accomplish my heart desire, as
I don't want anything that will jeopardize my last wish. Please kindly
respond for further details to me
Thanks and God bless you,
Mrs Elisabeth Peter