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)
- "your humble assistance" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "god-fearing " (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Christine MEAS <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2021 08:32:50 +0100
Greetings to you and your family in the name of God.
My name is Christine MEAS a widow from United States Married to late
Mr. Victor NUON; I am in a hospital at the moment undergoing treatment
for Esophagi Cancer in USA, My late husband worked with United States
embassy in Benin Republic and we were married for many years without
any child before his death. I found your profile and i decided to
contact you, based on this my present health condition I have decided
to donate 1.5 Million Dollars for the Less Privileged
orphanage/motherless babies before I die due to advise according to my
late Husband in my last dream.
Beloved i wish to see this project completed and 40% will be set-aside
for your humble Assistance and 60% will be for the project. I
sincerely believe you are a GOD-fearing person who can help me out and
maintain my last wishes without betray.
I want you to contact me on my Email ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
so that i can give you the deposit certificate with the information to
contact the bank where the money is deposited.
My sincere regards,