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)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Jessica Becker <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2022 14:21:00 +0000
Subject: Dear friend,
I know that this mail will surprise you but I implore you to take a
little of your time to go through it for the decision you take will go a
long way in determining my future.
I am Mrs Jessica Becker, from Indonesia. I was married to former British
ambassador to Burkina Faso for nine years before he died in 2004. We had
one child who died earlier before his late father.
My late husband deposited some fund in a bank when alive. Recently, my
doctor told me that my days are numbered due to Breast cancer and kidney
failure. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to you for
charity. I want you to use this fund for orphanages,widows and the needy in
Hope to receiving your response.
Mrs Jessica Becker