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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found 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: Alexander George <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2021 10:30:14 +0100
Subject: Hello My Beloved One.
Hello My Beloved One.
I greet you with the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, It is true that this
letter may come to you as a surprise. Nevertheless, I humbly ask you to
give me your attention and hear me well. My name is Mrs. Theresa Gross from
the UK but me and my husband lived in Canada since he retired from work
until his death. I am married to Mr. Anthony Gross who once worked with our
Embassy in Canada for a period of 16 years before he died.
We were married for 25 years without a child before he died after a brief
illness. Since his death I decided not to re-marry due to my religious
belief. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of
USD$10.500.000.00 (Ten Million Five Hundred Thousand United State American
dollars) with a Bank here in Canada. Presently this money is still in the
custody of the Bank. Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for
the next 2 months due to my cancer illness.
Having known my condition I decided to donate this money to churches,
organizations or good person that will utilize this money the way I am
going to instruct herein.
I want you to use this money for churches, Charity organizations,
orphanages, widows and other people that are in need. l took this decision
because I don't have any child that will inherit this money. Moreover, my
husband's relatives are not close to me since I developed a Cancer problem
and it had been their wish to see me dead in order to inherit his wealth
since we have no Child. These people are not worthy of this inheritance.
This is why I am taking this decision to contact you and donate this fund
to you in order for you to use it for charity works.
As soon as I receive your reply I will give you more details about the fund
and also the contact of the Bank in Canada where this money is deposited. I
will also issue a letter of authorization to the bank that will prove you
the present beneficiary of this money. I also want you to always put me in
your prayers because life has been hell for me since this while that my
sickness became serious.
Any delay in your reply may give me room to look for another good person
for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I
Thanks and Remain blessed.
Yours sister in the Lord,
Mrs. Theresa Gross.