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.
- This email message is a "dying merchant" 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Sheikh Jamal." (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 2010 13:30:11 -0800
As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I
believe everyone will die someday.
I am Jamal Nabi Al-Balushi. I a merchant originally of Omani nationality and 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 for anyone(not even myself)but
my business. Though I am very rich, I was never generous, I was always
hostile to people and only focused on my business as that was the only thing I
But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than
just wanting to have or make all the money in the world.
I believe when God gives me a second chance to come to this world i
would live my life a different way. Please respond back to me on so i can explain
to you better.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 God to be merciful to me and accept my soul so,i have decided
to give alms to charity organizations, as i want this to be one of the last
good deeds i do on earth. I want to believe that you will be capable of
handling this task for me. Please contact me on email@example.com