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:
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Mike Williams." <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 2021 22:52:14 +0200
Subject: Good day.
I am Mrs.Mike Williams. an ageing widow suffering from long time
illness. i am currently admitted in a privet hospital in Abidjan, I
have some funds I inherited from my late loving husband Mr Michael
Williams, the sum of ($ 3.7 million,United States) which he deposited
in BANK Here. and I need a very honest and God fearing Christian
that can use this funds for God's work and 25% out of the total funds
will be for your compasation for doing this work of God. I found your
email address from your country Organisation and after my prayers I
decided to contact you. Please if you would be able to use these funds
for the Lord's work kindly reply me so that I will give you every
necessary & legal information for your easy claim.
Your Sister In The Lord.