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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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!
- 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.
- +447024034524 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Susan Bunn" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 11:20:59 -0000
Subject: Email Notification !!!
Email Notification !!!
The Fidelity UK Foundation would like to notify you that you have been chosen by the board as one of the final recipients of a cash Grant/Donation for your own personal, educational, and business development. The Fidelity UK Foundation is located in Hildenborough, Kent, UK.
The Fidelity UK Foundation was established in 1988 to strengthen not-for-profit organisations primarily in regions surrounding Fidelity International's major corporate locations around the world.
Grants from the Foundation are designed to encourage the highest standards of management and long-term self-reliance in non-profit organisations. Taking an investment approach to grant making, we fund organisations where we feel we can add lasting, measurable value. We seek to support major initiatives that charitable organisations undertake to reach new levels of achievement.
We are giving out a yearly donation of 2,500,000.00GBP (Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling's Only) each to 10 lucky recipients. These specific Donations/Grants will be awarded to 10 lucky international recipients worldwide, in different categories. Based on the random selection exercise of internet websites and millions of supermarket cash invoices worldwide, you were selected amongst the lucky recipients to recieve the award sum of 2,500,000.00GBP as charity donations/aid.
CONTACT FOUNDATION ASSISTANT FOR MORE INFORMATIONS ON YOUR CLAIMS
Name: Ewa Morgan
Tel:+44 702 403 4524
Please note that these donations/Grants are strictly administered by the UN in collaboration with other international institutions and organisations such as the World Bank, OECD, the ILO, the European Investment Bank and UNESCO. You are advised to keep this whole information confidential until you have been able to redeem your donation.
You would be required to send down the following information:
DATE OF BIRTH:
On behalf of the Board kindly, accept our warmest congratulations
(Foundation Programme Manager)