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:
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "remain blessed" (scammers in West Africa like to use religious phrases)
- 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: maureen alan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2023 21:39:00 -0800
Subject: Pray for me,
Good morning my beloved, permit me to share with you my desire to go into
Godly business partnership with you. I got your profound contact email from
a computerized data, following my fasting & praying effort searching for a
reliable and trustworthy person to assist me in this venture.
I am Mrs. Maureen Greaves, married to Late Alan Greaves (PhD} who worked
with ( Total S.A.) the French Multinational Integrated Oil and Gas Company
and one of the five "Super major" oil companies in the world as their
Africa drilling rig supplier for 17 years before his death On Christmas Eve
Before his death we were both devout born again Christian; lay-preacher and
former social worker and my late husband Alan
Greaves; was an organist at the church for 40 years, before he was attacked
and beaten with a pickaxes on his way to play at Midnight Mass at
St. Savior's Church in Sheffield and he died in hospital three days later
as you can confirm this link as stated below:
A year after his murder, organist Alan Greaves' widow ...
www.dailymail.co.uk The widow of a church organist fatally injured on
Christmas Eve last year played a leading role in an emotional candlelit
service at the spot where he was attacked ...
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of ($15.5M) with a bank
in Cotonou Benin where he worked for 17 years last as the (Total S.A.)
Africa drilling rig supplier.
I am contacting you because of the recent report from my Doctor who told me
that I have some weeks to live due to cardiac and kidney failure problem,
having known my condition, I seek your concept and permission to present
you to the bank as my late husband foreign investors to retrieve the fund
and utilize for establishing an orphanages home for the poor and needy, and
also propagating the word of God and to endeavor that the house of God is
I shall give you the full detailed documents of the fund as soon as I hear
Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing another good person
for this same purpose.
Hoping to receive your response immediately. Contact me through this email:
Thanks and Remain blessed in the Lord.
I Remain your sister in Christ.
Mrs. Maureen A. Greave
(Church Army evangelist).