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:
- "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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: Elizabeth Schubert <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2022 18:18:50 +0100
Subject: $14,900,000 FOR CHARITY FOUNDATION!!
I am Mrs. Elizabeth Schubert now undergoing medical treatment. I am married
to Dr. Schubert worked with the German Embassy in the Benin Republic before
he died in 2006.
We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief
illness that lasted for only four days. Before his death we were both born
again Christians. I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my
matrimonial home, which the Bible is against.
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $14,900,000.00 with
a Bank in Off-shore for charity purpose and foundation for the
less-privileged, this money is still with the Bank. Contact me here for
You are to contact my personal attorney for legal documentation on your
behalf before the bank will be able to commence with the transfer into your
HIS NAME: BARRISTER PAUL WOOD
PHONE NUMBER: +229 65890960.