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:
- "good day friend" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "may come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million us 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)
- "your urgent reply" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "utmost confidentiality" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: TERIZA WILLIAM <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2023 22:11:13 -0700
Subject: Good day friend,
Dear good day friend,
I greet you with the name of Almighty God, the giver of every good
thing. My letter may come to you as a surprised. Nevertheless, I
humbly ask you to give me your attention and hear me well.
My name is MRS.TERIZA WILLIAM , we are nationality of United Kingdom
,( UK ) , nationalized here in SPAIN ,with my late husband before
he died .
I need a very honest and God fearing who can stand and claim this
sum of 10,000,000,00 Million US dollars, been deposited in the bank
here in (SPAIN) by my late husband before he died.
I found your email address from the internet after honest prayers to
God to bring me a helper,, that can champion the project , then i
decided to contact you and if you may be willing and interested to
handle these trust funds in good faith before anything happens to me.
I want you to use this money for , Charity organizations, orphanages,
widows and other people who are in need. l took this decision because
I do not have any children who will inherit this money. In addition,
my husband relatives are not close to me since I develop a Cancer
problem and it was their wish to see me dead in order to inherit his
wealth since we have no Child.
These people are not worthy of this inheritance. This is why I'm
taking this decision. As soon as the bank, release the fund to you,
you will take 30 percent of the total money for your effort while
70% of the money will go to charity. I will appreciate your utmost
confidentiality and trust. I do not want anything that will endanger
my last wish. 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 stated here.
I do not need any telephone communication in this regard because of
my ill-health as doctor instructed.
Waiting for your urgent reply
Mrs. Teriza William