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:
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2010 23:21:09 +0200
Subject: PRIZE OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION
Your Reference No: L90MV-B/010-MMS
Your Batch No: 80077QTFQTR#02
We are pleased to inform you of the release of the long awaited results of our
Sweepstakes promotion organized by ONCE LOTTERY,
held this April 2010, in Espana. Wherein your email address emerged as one of the
online Winning emails in the 2nd category and therefore attracted a cash
award of 1,500,000.00 Euros (One Million Five Hundred Thousand Euros).
which is part of our promotional draws,
Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 30,000 email.
To begin your claim, do file for the release of your winning by contacting
Once Lottery Claims Department:
Dr.Joshua Alfredo Amparo.
Calle Tres Cruces, 6 (Esquina Con Gran Vía, 26)
Tel: 0034-672 969 687