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The Dying Widow Scam

One Of The Popular Variations On The Email Scam Is The Dying Widow Scam

The basic idea is that a Widow (or Widower) is Dying And Needs Your Help!

This is a variation of the typical “419” Advance Fee Fraud Scam, where the scammer claims to be a childless widow of a wealthy husband, usually from the Middle East, Africa (such as Nigeria) or a former Diplomat or Government Official. She inherited her fortune from her husband and is now dying. Usually, this is an obvious terminal disease such as breast cancer or “cancer and fibroid problems.”  Sometimes it will be a stroke.

The widow will claim to be a “Born Again Christian,”using typical biblical language such as “”, “”, or referring to scriptures (“Exodus 14”). The widow will you to use the money for an orphanage, charities or a church; or may claim to be devout Muslim.

The source of the emails and fake profiles turn out to be Nigeria or West African nations.  The person behind the scam is almost always a man pretending to be a woman, that works with scamming gangs – many, no doubt, providing funds for local terrorists.

It almost always follows the same scam where the victim will receive millions of dollars for a little help. The victim will be asked to wire their money to another person, typically a “lawyer” or a “security company” or another intermediary in control of their money. 

The male equivalent of the “dying widow” scam is the “dying merchant” scam.

Example Stolen Photo