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:
- "million pounds" (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)
- 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!
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +447035960866 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +448709744065 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 2009 19:34:17 +0100
Subject: Guinness 250th anniversary draws
Adams house, 1a
Guinness trust, Stamford hill,
London, N165TE, United Kingdom JOIN THE GUINNESS WORLD 250TH ANNIVERSARY We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded annual final draws of Guinness world celebration program.Guinness world draws was conducted on-line by an automated random computer ballot search from the Internet. No tickets were sold. This draw is conducted to make Guinness 250th anniversary. After this automated computer ballot, your e-mail address attached to serial number 01-98-87 drew the lucky numbers 2-16-41-26--92, which consequently emerged you as our only winner in the United Kingdom Booklet. You been approved for a lump prize off of 1,000,000.00(One Million Pounds) in cash credited to File Number GU/08/250XN. Please note that your File Number falls within our British booklet category. In view of this, our affiliate bank in the Europe would release your 1,000,000.00(One Million Pounds) to you in the United Kingdom. To claim you are required to send the necessary information to our helpline below: Name....... Country......phone number......
Address......Occupation...... Mr. William Philips
Information and Payment Bureau:
United Kingdom Office
E-mail:email@example.com Congratulation on behalf of members and staff of this board and thanks for been part of our promotions program. Mrs. Grace Sian