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:
- "million united states 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)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: Carol Collymore <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2022 19:46:16 +0100
Hello, good day,
After going through your profile, I have this faith that you will never
betray me or take advantage of my current health condition, and with the
doctor's prescription, I don't know my fate. I am suffering from Lung and
Bronchus Cancer and the doctor has said I have a short time to live.
Early last year I lost my husband and my only child in an auto crash and
ever since then life has never been easy for me. Why I contacted you is the
$7.5 million United States Dollars my late husband deposited with a bank.
My late husband told me the purpose was to start a Cocoa Merchant which
didn't work out because of his sudden death.
I will need your help to use this money and look for viable business the
money can be channeled into. I will as well want you to use 30 percent of
the money to help the less privileged children and poor widows.
Soon, I will be going on a journey I'm not sure if I will return. My second
surgery will be taking place sooner or later.
Please I need your urgent response.