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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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 free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: MICROSOFT CORPORATION WORLD LOTTERY <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2010 08:36:48 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: MICROSOFT CORPORATION WORLD LOTTERY
UNITED KINGDOM.61-70 Southampton Row,
United Kingdom WC1B 4AR.
REFERENCE NO: MSW-L/200-26937
2009 SEPTEMBER YUYY#5
It is obvious that this
notification will come to you as a surprise but please find time to read it
carefully as we congratulate you over your success in the following official
publication of results of the E-mail electronic online Sweepstakes organized by
Microsoft, in conjunction with the foundation for the promotion of software
products, (F.P.S.) held on this year 2010,in United
Wherein your electronic email
address emerged as one of the online
winning emails in the
1st category and therefore attracted a cash award of £1,000,000.00
Pounds Sterling only). Our winners are arranged into four categories with
different winning prizes accordingly in each category.
We write to officially
notify you of this award and to advise you to contact the processing office
immediately upon receipt of this message for more information concerning the
verification, processing and eventual payment of the above prize to you. It is
important to note that your award information was released with the following
particulars attached to it.
(1) Award numbers: NL
(2) BATCH NO:
(3) REFERENCE NO:
OUR CLAIM DEPARTMENT WITH THE INFORMATION
3. DATE OF
7. COUNTRY OF
9. TELEPHONE NUMBER AND FAX
MICROSOFT SECURITY DEPARTMENT
MY REGARDS. MRS ROSMARY ( ZONAL