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)
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Selvia Santiago <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 5 Sep 2021 15:20:02 +0000
I am Mrs. Selvia Santiago, from Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire, I am a widow
suffering from long time illness (Cancer), there is funds I inherited from
my late loving husband Mr. Santiago Carlos, the sum of ($1.7 Million
Dollars) which he deposited in bank before his death, I need a honest and
Faithful person that can use these funds for humanity work.
I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this
money and I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an
ungodly way. That is why I am taking this decision, and my doctor has
confirmed to me that I have less than two weeks to live, having known my
condition I decided to donate this fund to a charity or individual that
will utilize this money to assist the poor and the needy in accordance to
I want you to use 75% of this funds for orphanages, school and church,
widows, propagating the word and other humanity works,The remaining 25%
should be yours for your efforts as the new beneficiary.
Please if you would be able to use these funds for humanity work kindly
reply me. As soon as I have received your response, I will give you further
directives on how you are to go about the claims of the said funds.
Mrs Selvia Santiago.