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:
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- ",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.
- +447024034853 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Adf Piura" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 28 May 2010 14:43:34 -0500
Subject: CONGRATULATION!! REF:YAHOO6/315116127/27
FROM: THE DESK OF THE PROMOTIONS MANAGER
INTERNATIONAL GRANTS/PRIZE AWARD DEPT
The prestigious YAHOO! has set out and successfully organized a Sweepstakes
marking the Begining of the year 2010 anniversary we rolled out over
£1,000,000.00 (One Million Great British Pounds) for our new year
Anniversary Draws. Participants for the draws were randomly selected and
drawn from a wide range of web hosts which we enjoy their patronage.
The selection was made through a computer draw system attaching personalized
email addresses to ticket numbers. If you ignore this, you will regret it
later. Yahoo! and Microsoft are now the largest Internet companies and in an
effort to make sure that Internet Explorer remains the most widely used
program, Yahoo and Microsoft are running an e-mail beta test.
Your email address as indicated was drawn and attached to ticket number
883734657492-5319 with REF:YAHOO7/315116127/27 and drew the BATCH:15/623/UK
which subsequently won you ?1,000,000.00 (One Million Great British
Pounds) as one of the 10 jackpot winners in this draw.
Please be informed by this winning notification, to file your claims, you
are to make contact with your designated agent who shall by duty guide you
through the process to facilitate the release of your prize. To file for
your claim Please Contact your fiduciary agent.
Mrs. Clari Ortiz
Yahoo! Promotion Award Team
44 Moorfields London EC2Y 9AL UNITED KINGDOM
You are advised to contact your fiduciary agent with the following details
to avoid unnecessary delays and complications:
8.Country Of Residence:
Passport copy or legal document scan and attach for identification
How do you Feel as a Winner.
Thank you for being part of our commemorative new year Anniversary Draws.
Congratulations from the Staffs & Members of the interative Lotteries Board
Yahoo! Promotion Award Team.
© 2010 Microsoft & Yahoo! Inc