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:
- "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)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Ruth Williams" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2022 01:04:28 +0100
Subject: Hello Dear
My name is Mrs Ruth Williams; I am a dying woman who has decided to
donate what I have to you/church. I am 77 years old and I was
diagnosed for cancer for about 2 years ago, immediately after the
death of my husband, who has left me everything he worked for and
because the doctors told me I will not live longer than some weeks
because of my health, I decided to donate the sum of
$35,400,000(Thirty five million four hundred thousand dollars) to you
for the good work of humanity, and also to help the motherless and
less privilege and also for the assistance of the widows.
I wish you all the best and may the good Lord bless you abundantly,and
please use the funds well and always extend the good work to
others.Contact my lawyer(Barr Umeh Johnson ) with this pacified
emai(email@example.com) and tell him that I have
donated($35,400,000.00) to you and I have also notified him. I know I
donât know you but I have been directed to do this. my lawyer will
assist you to claim the money from the ECO Bank.Bank where it is being
Thanks and God bless.
NB: I will appreciate your utmost confidentiality in this matter until
the task is accomplished as I don't want anything that will jeopardize
my last wish.