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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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)
- This email message is a next of kin 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Margret Spencer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2021 07:17:59 +0100
Subject: Accept as a token of my love and kindness to humanity
I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.My name is Margret Spencer
from the United States,I am a 68 year old widow, I am a Christian and a
believer of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately I am suffering from cancer
which has reached its terminal stage after defiling all medical attention,
meaning I will be dying at any time.
Before i took ill, i have a 15 million dollars inheritance from my late
husband which i intend to use for charity.Since i will be dying very soon
and i understand you are a charitable person also,I want to donate the
money to you as a personal gift, this will help me accomplish my charity
intention with the money.This is the sacrifice i wish to make to mankind
I would rather spend the money this way since I have no one as my next of
kin to inherit the money after the death of my husband and only son David
who died in a motor accident in 2013.I will only need you to send me your
full name and address to send you a cashier check with which to cash the
Please do not ignore this message or this could be some kind of scam,Kindly
accept it as a token of my magnanimity and love to humanity and
mankind.This is my humble sacrifice to the Glory of God.
Kindly write me back on email@example.com