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:
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- This email message is a "dying widow" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Catherine Afred <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 28 May 2022 01:07:50 +0100
Subject: From Yours Sister Mrs. Catherine Afred,
From Yours Sister Mrs. Catherine Afred,
I greet you in the name of God, it is true that this letter may come to you
as a surprise but nevertheless, I humbly ask you to give me your attention
and hear me well. My name is Mrs. Catherine Afred, I am 65 years old and I
am married to Mr. Williams Afred, and we were married for a period of (20)
twenty years before he died in 2019.
We were married for 20 years without a child and he died after a
brief illness and since his death I decided not to remarry due to
my religious belief and old age. When my late husband was alive
he deposited the sum of three million five hundred thousand Euros
(3.5 Million Euros) with a Bank here. Presently this money is still in
the custody of the Bank. Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not
last for the next four months due to my cancer illness.
Having known my condition I decided to donate this money to
churches, organizations or good people that will utilize this fund the way
I am going to instruct for a proper idea on how this fund would be used.
I want you to use this money for charity organizations, orphanages, widows
and other people that are in need. I took this decision because I don't
have any child that will inherit this money. Moreover, my husband's
relatives are not close to me since I developed cancer illness and it had
been their wish to see me dead so as to enable them to inherit my husbandâs
wealth hence we have no Child. These people are not worthy of this
inheritance. This is why I am taking this decision to contact you and
donate this fund to you for the charity works. And 30% of this money will
be for your time and effort, while 70% goes to charities.
As soon as I receive your reply, I will give you the contact of the Bank
where this fund was deposited by my deceased husband before his sudden
Any delay in your reply may give me room to look for another good person
for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I
Thanks and Remain blessed.
Mrs. Catherine Afred