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:
- "international lottery programme" (no such lottery exists)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "hundred thousand united state 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)
- "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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- +447045710774 (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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Australian Lottery Board" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 17:08:01 -0400
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS YOUR EMAIL HAVE WON $ 500,000.00 USD (CONTACT YOUR CLAIMS AGENT NOW)
Ref: I1LP/HW 46704/03
Winning Numbers 1 2 26 30 40 21
AWARD NOTIFICATION: FINAL NOTICE
We are pleased to inform you of the Australian International Lottery Programme result held on the 25th of March 2011 from the Australian International
Lottery programme. Which is fully based on an electronic selection of winners using their e-mail addresses. Your name was attached to ticket number;
65506172523564609102 Serial Number 67749137002. This batch draws the lucky numbers as follows 2-9-23-35-46 bonus number 14, which consequently won the lottery
in the second category. You are here approved a lump sum pay of USD $ 500,000.00 (FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS) in cash credit file ref:
ILP/HW 46704/03 from the total cash prize shared amongst Eight lucky winners in this category.
Due to mix up of some numbers and names, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential until your claims has been processed and your money is
remitted to your nominated bank. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claims and unwarranted abuse of this programme by some participants.
All participants where selected through a computer/mail balloting system drawn from Nine hundred thousand E-mail addresses from Canada, Australia, United
States, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Oceania as part of our international promotions program which is conducted annually. This Lottery was promoted
and sponsored by a conglomerate of some multinational companies and also the Australian Government as part of their social responsibility to the citizens in
the communities where they have operational base.
Further more your details (e-mail address) falls within our European representative office in Amsterdam, Holland, as indicated in your play coupon and your
prize of USD $500,000.00 will be released to you from our regional branch office in LONDON. We hope with part of your prize, you will participate in our end
of year high stakes for USD $2.3 Million international draw.
HOW TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE:
Simply contact our claims agent
MR BENSON MILTON
To file for your claim.
Please quote your Date of draw,Reference Number, Batch Number and Winning Number, which can be found on the top-left corner of this message. Also, you
should give in the following Details to help locate your file easily.
Date of birth.......................
Cell phone number..........
Home phone number......
For security reasons,
we advice all winners to keep this information confidential from the public until your claim is processed and your prize has been released to you and also
to the public.
This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted taking advantage of this programme by non-participant or unofficial
Congratulations once again on your winning!
ROSE ADAMS (MRS)
PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL.
CONTACT YOUR CLAIMS AGENT AT :
MR BENSON MILTON
ANY BREACH OF CONFIDENTIALITY ON YOUR PART WILL RESULT TO DISQUALIFICATION