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 friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "god fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Tan Ruby <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2021 23:45:59 -0800
Subject: My name is Mrs Tan Ruby
I am Tan Ruby an ageing widow suffering from long time illness
(Cancer). I am currently admitted in a private hospital. I have some
fund I inherited from my late husband Mr. Paul Tan, who later died in
a motor accident.
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of ($3, Million
Dollars) in a Bank. Presently, this money is still in bank.
My Doctor told me that I would not last for the next two months due to
cancer problem. I need a very honest and God fearing person and
organization that can use these funds for God's work.
Please if you would be able to use these fund for the God's work
kindly reply me. I want you to send me your full name and address so
that I will make you the new beneficiary of this fund.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you more details
regarding the process of the fund transfer with the legal documents
that will prove you the new beneficiary of this fund.