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 united states 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 Helen Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 2021 12:04:16 +0100
Subject: Greetings to you from Mrs. Helen Smith,
Greetings to you from Mrs. Helen Smith,
Dearest in the Lord,
Hello Dear, I know you will be surprise to read my email, apart from
being surprise you may be skeptical to reply back to me because of
what is going on in the internet world, one has to be very careful
because a lot of scams are outside there trying to scam innocent
citizen and this has made it very difficult for people to believe
anything that comes out through the internet but this is a different
With due Respect and Humanity, I write to donate and hand over this
fund to you for orphanages and widows / less privileged and propagate
the gospel of God $10M (Ten Million United States dollars) deposited
here in a security firm in Cote d'Ivoire by my late husband. I, Mrs.
Helen Smith, 63 years old without a child, married to late Engr.
Michael Smith who worked with (Arthur Global Industries) before he
died after a Cardiac Arteries Operation, presently my doctor said I
will not last for four months due to Colon Cancer, you are requested
to send your full name, telephone number and your resident address,
Age, Occupation, Sex/Marital status, for the documentation process for
sending the fund to you without any hindrance to accomplish our noble
vow to God.
Thanks and waiting for your quick response.
Always pray for me daily.
God bless us
Mrs. Helen Smith