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:
- "dear beloved," (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- This email message is a "dying merchant" scam.
Fraud email example:
From: Mr Omar Hasan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2011 07:51:19 +1000
Subject: Dear Beloved
As you read this, I dont want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday. My name is Omar Hasan a merchant in Dubai, in the U.A.E.I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer. It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts. I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared or anyone (not even myself) but my business.
Now that God has called me, I have willed and given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family members as well as a few close friends. I want Allah to be merciful to me and accept my soul so, I have decided to give also to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth. So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the U.A.E, Algeria and Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore. I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have there to charity Organization in Bulgaria and Pakistan , they refused and kept the money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them.
The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of Thirty Five million dollars $35,000,000,00 that I have with a financial Security Firm abroad. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatched it to charity organizations. I have set aside 35% for your time and service. Please reply me with honesty as soon as you receive this mail.