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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Marina Q. Cervantes." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 8 Oct 2021 17:14:08 +0200
Subject: Greetings Dear Beloved,
Greetings Dear Beloved,
Please read this slowly and carefully, as it may be one of the most
important emails you ever get. I am Mrs. Marina Quibec Cervantes from
USA, I was married to Late Engr. Martin Harold Cervantes from UK. He
used to work with Shell Petroleum Development Company Kuwait and was
also a seasoned contractor in the Middle East Region. He died on 31
December, 2010 in Kuwait.
We were married for seventeen years without a child. After his death I
decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial
home.When my late husband was alive, he deposited the sum of
(US$78,500,000.00) USD which he deposited in a Vault with a Finance
Firm.My Doctor told me that I would not last long due to my
complicated health issues, I have cancer.Having known my condition I
decided to donate this fund to better the lives of the less privileged
and orphanage. I need an honest and trustworthy individual that will
utilize this money in accordance with my instructions.
I want the funds to be used in funding religious
organizations,orphanages and the less privileged propagating the word
of God.I took this decision because I don't have any child that will
inherit this money and my husband's relatives are very unkindly to me
and I don't want my husband's hard earned money to be misused. I am
not afraid of death hence I know where I am going.I know that I am
going to be in the bosom of the Lord.Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the
lord will fight my course and I shall hold my peace. As soon as I
receive your reply I shall give you the contact of my Attorney.
Contact me on this email for more information: (
For legitimacy, he will also issue you a Letter of Authorization that
will empower you as the original-beneficiary of this fund. I want you
to always pray for me. Any delay in your reply will give me room in
sourcing for another individual for this same purpose, if you are not
interested, kindly pardon me for contacting you.
Mrs Marina Q. Cervantes.