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:
- 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:
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "greater london" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Joy Williams" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2011 07:33:29 -0700
Subject: PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND CLAIM.
Baley House, Har Road
Sutton, Greater London
United Kingdom UK
Office Hours 9am - 5pm GTM London Time
This is to inform you that you have won a prize money of $850,000 USD (Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars) for the 2011 Yahoo Email Seasonal promotion which is organized by YAHOO EMAIL INC, WINDOWS LIVE & MICROSOFT PROMOTIONAL PROGRAM, this is done by collecting all the email addresses of the people active online, among the millions that are active online, we only select five people as our winners through our Yahoo Microsoft Ballot Selection System Unit.
We congratulate you for being one of the people selected on our Yahoo members registration file list and other Domain Subscribers..
PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND CLAIM
You are to contact your Claims Agent on or before your date of Claim, Winners Shall be paid in accordance with his/her Settlement Center.
Yahoo members Email promotion Prize must be claimed not later than 5 days from date of Draw Notification after the Draw date in which Prize has won. Any prize not claimed within this period will be forfeited. These are your identification numbers:
Batch number.....................YM 09102XN Reff number................... ....YM35447XN Winning number.................. .YM09788
These numbers fall within the our West Africa Regional Headquarter-Nigeria Center you are requested to contact our West Africa Regional Office Nigeria Co-ordinator Rev. Dr. Steven Moore and send your winning identification numbers to him,
NAME: Rev. Dr. Steven Moore
You are therefore advise to send the following information to the West Africa Nigeria Co-ordinator to facilitate them and process the transfer of your fund.
1. Full name.......... 2. Country.............3. Contact Address.........4. Telephone Number........5. Marital Status........................ ...
6. Occupation.................... .7. Age.........................8. Religion .............................. ..9. Gender ....................
Mrs. Joy Williams
Congratulations!! once again.
Yahoo! UK & Ireland