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:
- "dear beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "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. Pearl Koster" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 04 Sep 2021 14:32:23 -0700
Subject: HELLO, IT'S URGENT PLEASE REPLY??
How are you doing? I hope you are doing well.I write to you in good faith =
and hope that you will understand the importance of my email. I hope you wi=
ll never let me down. My decision to contact you is because I was recently =
diagnosed with Cancer and the doctor said I have less than 8 weeks to live.=
Since this sudden news was announced to me,I have been reflecting over my =
life in the past. It is painful that after over 24 years of peaceful marria=
ge With my late husband, we had a 23 yrs old son who Died in an auto crash =
three years ago.
In the past, I have made reasonable donations to the victims of Earthquake=
in Haiti and recently to the same victims in Japan and Thailand, and Now t=
hat my health is gradually deteriorating, I cannot continue to do all these=
by myself any more.
I strongly desire to reach out to the poor and needy people, but I would p=
refer to continue this with the assistance of a kind person.
I want you to answer the following questions:
(1) are you a God fearing person?
(2) If I donate (GBP=A36,500,000.00) Six Million Five Hundred Thousand Gre=
at British pound sterling to you, can you be able to utilize it wisely to a=
chieve my heart's desire of supporting poor people around you?
(3)Will you open a charity foundation in the name of I and my husband?
Please write back as soon as possible.
Mrs Pearl Koster