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:
- "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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Liz" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2021 10:31:24 +0100
Subject: thank God i find you now
i am Mrs Liz. 70 years old, Dumb and a widow. I was married to late
Engr. Hamilton , my late husband was from California, USA who worked
with Shell Development Company in London for Twenty-Six years before
he died in the year August 9th 2016 after a brief illness that lasted
only five days. when my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of
8.4million dollars in a Bank in Ohio USA. Following my ill health
(Cancer of the Lungs), my Doctor told me that I may not live longer
than required due to my health condition. I am looking forward to
seeing someone like you who can use this money in charitable works to
help the needs. More details will be made known to you upon your
May God Bless You,