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:
- "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!
- 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.
- +447045710545 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "=?ISO-8859-1?Q?Microsoft=20Office?=" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2011 06:18:41 -0300
Subject: Micorsoft Promo (Your Reference No: UK/9420X/05)
Microsoft Sweepstakes Promotion,
100 Victoria St, London SW1E 5JL
Your Batch No: 074/05/ZY369
Your Reference No: UK/9420X/05
You have been awarded the sum of 550,000 GBP and a Toshiba laptop in the on going Microsoft Sweepstakes Promotion 2011. For claims send the above reference number and batch number and your complete details for verification and release of winning:
(Foreign Transfer Manager)
Mr Mark Foster
Tel: +44 704-571-0545
Email : email@example.com