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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "international lottery programme" (no such lottery exists)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claim 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)
- "email@example.com" (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: "Australian Lottery Inc." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2010 23:59:41 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: YOU HAVE WON $1,000,000.00 USD
FROM: THE DESK OF THE VICE PRESIDENT INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE
AWARDS DEPARTMENT AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SWEEPSTAKES LOTTERY
Winning no: GB8701/LPRC
CONGRATULATION! CONGRATULATION!! YOUR E-MAIL HAS WON $1,000,000,00
We are delighted to inform you of your prize which was released on 20/08/2010. from the Australian International Lottery programmer, which is fully based on an electronic of winners using their e-mail addresses from some sites.
Your email address was attached to ticket number; 17212 and serial number 7741137002. This batch draws the lucky numbers as follows 5-13-33-37-42 and bonus number 17, which consequently won the lottery in the second category
This Lottery was promoted and sponsored by a conglomerate of some multinational companies as part of their social responsibility to the citizens in the communities where they have an operational base. Furthermore, your details (e-mail address) falls within our UK regional office in LONDON as indicated in your play coupon and your prize of US$1,000,000.00 will be released to you from this regional branch office in UK/London, To file for your claim, please contact our director of finance. Contact the claim agent with this information below
PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU ARE TO SEND THE BELOW
INFORMATION REQUIRED TO CLAIM YOUR WINNING PRIZE:
1. Full Name: ..........................
2. Address: ........................
3. Nationality: .....................
4. Age: ...............................
5. Occupation: .......................
6. Phone: ..........Fax: ..............
7. State of Origin: ..............
8: Gender: ....................
9: CHOOSE DELIVERY OPTIONS:
(1): COME TO OUR OFFSHORE PAYMENT CENTER IN LONDON.
(2): BY OUR COURIER FIRM,
THE CLAIMS AGENT CONTACT
Name: Director. James Erickson
Note: all winnings MUST be claimed before two weeks, otherwise all
funds will be returned as unclaimed and eventually donated to charity