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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear friend" (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)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Salah Hashem Mohammed" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2013 06:28:27 +0800
Subject: From: Mr. Salah Hashem Mohammed
From: Mr. Salah Hashem Mohammed
It is indeed my pleasure to write to you this letter, which I believe will be
a surprise, as we are both complete strangers.
As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me; because I believe
everyone will die someday. My name is Mr. Salah Hashem Mohammed from Egypt, a
former merchant in Dubai, in the U.A.E. I have been diagnosed with oesophageal
cancer which was discovered very late, due to my laxity in caring for my health.
It has defiled all forms of medicine, 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 focus on my business as that was the only thing I cared for,
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 I have a second chance to come to this world I would live my
life a different way from how I had lived it, now that it is dark for me, I
have willed and given most of my properties and assets to my immediate and
extended family members and as well as a few close friends. To correct my
wrong past life, 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. 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 my
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 six million
dollars that I have with a Fudicial Company Abroad, I will want you to help me
collect this deposit and dispatched it to charity organizations and you must be
sending me informations of how it was disbursed either by email or otherwise.
I have set aside 5% for you for your time and patience.
Mr. Salah Hashem Mohammed.
NB Please do not share my email address with anyone as I have received some
emails from some unscrupulous people claiming to be charity organizations and
other weird stories.