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:
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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)
- "god fearing " (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.
- 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: "Ms.Marisa Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 1 Mar 2023 17:41:07 -0800
Subject: DEAREST IN CHRIST!!!
Dearest in Christ,
Please use this money for the churches and less privileged.
Greetings to you and your family in the name of God. In my search for a reliable and God fearing person and having gotten your contact through prayers and painstaking efforts I have decided to seek your help in carrying out my last wishes. My name is Ms. Marisa Smith. I'm a 65 years old woman and from London. I was a merchant and owned two businesses in London. I was also married with two children.
My husband and two children died in a car accident six years ago. Before this happened, my business and concern for making money was all I lived for. I never really cared about other values in life. But since the loss of my family, I have found a new desire to assist helpless families. I have been helping orphans in orphanage/motherless homes. I have also donated some money for humanitarian needs in London, South Africa, Cameroon, Brazil, Spain, Austria, Germany and some Asian countries.
I was moving with great pity and compassion that I decided to make this contribution on assisting people over there, I kept Fifteen Million United States Dollars ($15,000,000.00)in a long-term deposit account in a Finance company. Presently, I'm in a hospital where I have been undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer. I have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only few months to live. It is my last wish to see these money distributed to the less privileged ones and charity organization. Because relatives and friends have plundered so much of my wealth since my illness, I cannot live with the agony entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them.
Please, I beg you in the name of God to help me collect the deposit and distribute it accordingly. Use your judgement to distribute the money and keep 40% of it to yourself. Feel free to reimburse yourself when you have the money for any cost you incur during the process of collecting and distributing the money. If you are willing to help, please reply as soon as possible. May the good lord bless you and your family.
Please, send reply and all correspondence through this e-mail: (firstname.lastname@example.org) to enable me instruct my lawyer on what to do based on the fact that I do not have much time left to live.
Your praying on my behalf will also be appreciated at this point in time.
Thank you and God Bless us all.
Ms. Marisa Smith.
The information contained in this communication is intended solely for the use of the addressee and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible to deliver it to the intended recipient, be advised that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please immediately notify the sender by return email or by telephone and delete this communication and all copies, including all attachments.