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:
- 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:
- "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")
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- ",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)
- "cashiers check" (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!
- 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.
- 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: Blackberry Online Lottery <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 22:31:34 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Your Email Address have won a LUMP SUM OF $ 1,000,000.00.
FROM: THE DESK OF THE E-MAIL PROMOTIONS MANAGER INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT, UNITED KINGDOM.61-70 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury London United Kingdom WC1B 4AR
We happily announce to you the Draw (Batch #22) of Blackberry Online Lottery ® held on the 17th August, 2010.Your E-mail Address attached to Ticket Number: 43566, was picked at random from our computer system. You have won a LUMP SUM OF $ 1,000,000.00 (ONE MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) PAYABLE BY EITHER TELEGRAPHIC WIRE TRANSFER (T/T) INTO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT OR CERTIFIED CASHIERS CHECK.
You are advised to contact your fiduciary claims agent
Hon Mike Smithson
Fax: +44844 774 3857
Email all the below information to him for immediate processing of your winning.
YOUR FULL NAMES:
NEXT OF KIN:
Be sure to forward the mentioned information to your assigned fiduciary agent to enhance the processing and remittance of your won prized package.
Once again congratulations.
Mrs. Ritchie Brookes.
Online Co-coordinator ® (c) 2010 All Rights Reserved.