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:
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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!
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "ATM INC" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2010 10:56:25 +0100
Subject: (READ CAREFULLY) YOUR EMAIL HAVE WON !!! 28.NOV.2010
Microsoft® ATM/VISA Inc.
Calle Jose Mario 5,28940
Your e-mail address winning details:
B. NO: ES/AWD37/2010
E. NO: VC/AWD37/CLM/1-20
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 37th edition of the official publication of results in the E-mail electronic online Award organized by Microsoft® in conjunction with ATM/Visa® and confirmed by our co-sponsor Msn® International through their latest internet software.
HOW DID YOU WIN / SELECTION PROCESS DONE?
The online cyber draws was conducted from an exclusive list of over 5,000,000 email addresses of individuals and corporate bodies world wide picked by an advanced automated random computer selection from the web. (NO TICKETS WERE SOLD).
This promotion was set-up to encourage the active users of the Internet Microsoft Windows.Where in your email address emerged as one of the 20 online Winning emails in the 2nd category and therefore attracted a cash award of 1,000,000 Euro (One Million Euros).Your prize award has been insured with your email address and will be transferred to you upon meeting the requirement of the promotion award board authority, which includes your statutory obligations.
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.
For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential till your claims are processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize. This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some unscrupulous elements. Please be warned.
CONTACT CLAIMS OFFICE:Microsoft® ATM/VISA Promotion
Name: Mr.Charles Gordon
Tel:+34 672 892 654
Tel:+49 157 0266 3877
Do e-mail and call the approved agent above at once with all the claims requirements below to avoid unnecessary delay.
4.Date of Birth:
10.Your e-mail address winning details:
NOTE:You must process your winning email to enable the release of your prize.
Microsoft believes in your right to privacy.Your information is 100% secure and protected and will be used exclusively for the purpose of this promotion only.We will get back to you from the claims office after proper verification for further instructions on your claims process.
Microsoft® ATM/VISA Promotion
Disclaimer:This email and any attachments to it contain information that is confidential and may be privileged. It is for the exclusive use of the intended recipient(s). If you are not the intended recipient(s) please note that any form of distribution, copying or use of this communication or the information contained in it is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this email in error, please return it to the sender and delete the email from your records.