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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "22 garden close, stamford" (address often used in fake lottery scams)
- "irish lottery" (can only win this lottery if you bought a ticket)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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.
- +448713155389 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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.
- email@example.com (Hotmail, United Kingdom; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "IRISH ONLINE PROMOTION UK 2010"<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 2010 02:56:20 +0530
The Promotion Department IRISH LOTTERY
22 Garden Close, Stamford,
Lincs, PE9 2YP, London United Kingdom
You have been Selected on the Irish Lottery Draw Held on
26th of AUGUST,2010.Our lottery program selection has
finally been performed today which was held at the Marina
office. IRISH Promotion is a joint Euro/America private
lottery registered and organized in accordance with the
World Lottery Regulation act.
Suffice to say here, we have officially approved a sum
payout of ? 700,000.00 GBP to you as the international lottery winner
selected by our Lottery Random System.
Selection (LRSS).To fill your claims you are required to
fill and send the verification and form release to our
fiduciary agent with the details below to help in the
processing of your claims as well as certification:
CONTACT: Rooney James (Claims director)
SCANNED COPY OF IDENTITY:...................