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:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a fake lottery scam. Consider the following facts about real lotteries:
- They don't notify winners by email.
- You can't win without first buying a lottery ticket.
- They don't randomly select email addresses to award prizes to.
- They don't use free email accounts (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc) to communicate with you.
- They don't tell you to call a mobile phone number.
- They don't tell you to keep your winnings secret.
- They will never ask a winner to pay any fees to receive a prize!
Fraud email example:
From: "Debbie Woltmann" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 16 Jul 2009 15:53:55 +0300
Subject: Winning Notification........Final Notice
RE: WINNING FINAL NOTIFICATION
MEGAFO LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION/PRIZE AWARD DEPT.
Sir/Madam, We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Lottery Winners International programs held on the 17th of May 2009. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number 20511465897-6291 with serial number 472-971103 drew lucky numbers 8-66-97-22-71-64 which consequently won in the 3rd category, you have therefore been approved for a sum pay out of US$ 4,800,000.00. (Four Million Eight Hundred Thousand US Dollars). CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep your winning information very confidential till your claims has been processed and your prize/money Remitted toyou. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants. All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over 200,000,000 company and 300,000,000 individual email addresses and names from all over the world. This promotional program takes place annually. We hope with part of your winning you will take part in our next year USD40 million international lottery. To file for your claim, please contact our/your fiducial agent MR. MARK DAVIS of the, MECURY TRUST AGENT Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Note that all winning must be claimed not later than 30th of AUGUST 2009. After this date all unclaimed, funds will be included in the next stake.
Please note in order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications please remember to quote your reference number and batch numbers in all correspondence. Furthermore, should there be any change of address do inform our agent as soon as possible. Congratulations once more from our members of staff and thank you for being part of our promotional program.
Note: Anybody under the age of 18 is automatically disqualified.
Mrs. Debbie Woltmann