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:
- "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)
- "certified bank draft" (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. )
- 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: "Microsoft Windows Promotion 2010" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 29 May 2010 04:48:16 +0200
Subject: 2010 Result Release
MICROSOFT WEB PROMOTION 2010
THE MARINA OFFICES, ST PETERS YACHT BASIN
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, NE6 1HX
Attention: Email Bearer,
The prestigious Microsoft has successfully organized and sent out
Sweepstakes marking the 2010 Donation Exercise. Microsoft is running an
E-mail beta test.
Your email address have won £500,000.00,GBP in the MICROSOFT AWARD
PROMO held in May, 2010. We the Microsoft Web Promotion Organizing
Committee are pleased to officially notify you of the status of your
Your Winning file randomly drew for the Lucky Numbers: 188.8.131.52
.42.46. Bonus Ball, Winning Ref. No: UKOL-5464K2/71, Batch
Number: 012/06/DR432. Contact Help Desk with your contact information
within and outside England.
7.Your prefered method of claims bank to bank transfer/certified bank draft.
ONLINE DESK HELP:
Sir. Thomas James