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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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:
- "clearance fee" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known 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: "Customer Service" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 2010 00:37:08 -0800
Subject: FINAL AWARD NOTIFICATION :...You are one of the prize winners of our Annual Yelutide Draw !!!!
File #: KTU/9023118308/03
We happily announce to you the First last quater annual draw of the UK CANADIAN NATIONAL LOTTERY
Sweepstakes International program held on the Wednesday 4th of November 2009 in Toronto,Ontario,
Your e-mail address was attached to ticket number: 564 75600545 188 and Serial number 5368/02
drew the lucky winning numbers: 1 2 23 39 42 49 5 BONUS 8 which subsequently won you the lottery
in the 2nd category. You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of US$277,000 (Two
Hundred and Seventy-Seven Thousand United States Dollars)in cash credited to file ktu/9023118308/03.
This is from a total cash prize of US$5,540,000 million dollars, shared amongst the First Twenty (20)
lucky winners in this category.
All participants were selected randomly from World Wide Web through computer Draw system.This
promotion takes place quarterly in view of this, your US$277,000 (Two Hundred and Seventy- Seven
Thousand United States Dollars) would be released and Processed By our Fiduciary
agents/officers in Canada .For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information
confidential until your claims has been processed and your money remitted to you in whatever
manner you deem fit to claim your prize. This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid claiming
and unwarranted Abuse of this program by some unscrupulous elements.Please be warned. Such
cases we encountered earlier.
You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of US$277,000 (Two Hundred and Seventy- Seven
Thousand United States Dollars) at no extra cost to yourself from our North American
payment office located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada should you claim within the 3week time frame.
Now, we would like to explain to you the Federal and International regulations governing the personal
collections of cash prizes.
1) Prize winnings are released to you as soon as your Clearance Fee is deducted and paid. That will be
the day that your cheque will be released from our remittance office.
2) Your clearance fee is provided for you and is a calculated amount based on the size of your win as
required by Federal and International regulations.
3) Note that once your clearance fee is paid, you will receive your winnings in the form of a certified
check/Draft or if you request, by bank transfer directly into your bank account or any account nominated
4) If you are contacted by any other person other than the designated fiduciary Agent and you are asked
to send any form of money please desist from any further communication with this person, we provide all
stipulated charges or fees take note of this.
To file for your claim, please direct all mails /inquiries to our fiduciary Agents in Canada they will take
charge of all winners from these continents mentioned above, with all of the Details available below.Once
you have made contact, we shall designate one of our numerous Customer services officer to handle your
Mr. John Baker
Tel/Fax no: +1-206-888-2125
Good luck from me and members of staff of the UK CANADIAN NATIONAL LOTTERY.To avoid necessary
delays and complications,please immediately send us an email or fax with following details below:
a) Quote your reference/batch and file numbers.
b) Your lucky winning numbers and bonus numbers.
c) Your full names and current address.
d) Proof of identity.
e) Also a copy of this email message.
f) Winning amount.
g) Your email address,telephone and fax numbers.
Congratulations once more from all members and staff of this program. Thank You for being part of our
promotional lottery program.
MR MARTIN HENRY
(UK CANADIAN NATIONAL LOTTERY)
1) Please note preferred mode of communication in redeeming your winnings is through Email or fax; telephone
calls may not be received due to busy schedules.
2) We had to send this email again because fraudsters/scammers tried to drop a malicious bug into
our database, please accept our apologies.
3) If you think you have received this email in error please ignore/discard it.
4) Please also do not reply to email@example.com, if you do you risk been disqualified of
redeeming your winnings. Mode of communication in redeeming your winnings is through Email or fax;
telephone calls may not be received due to busy schedules