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:
- 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")
- "hundred thousand 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)
- 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 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: "Premium Cash Rewards"<firstname.lastname@example.org> (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 09:21:05 -0600
Subject: Reward Notification.
PREMIUM CASH INTERNATIONAL REWARDS.
PROMOTIONS PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT.
We are pleased to announce to you as one of the 8 lucky winners in the PREMIUM CASH INTERNATIONAL REWARDS draw held on Nov
1ST 2011. All 8 Winning addresses were randomly selected from a batch of 5,000,000 international emails. Your email address
emerged alongside 7 others as a 3rd category winner in this month's draw.
Consequently, you have therefore been approved for a total pay out of US$1,200,000.00 (One Million Two Hundred Thousand
United States Dollars) only.
The following particulars are attached to your lotto payment order: (i) WINNING NUMBER: 8357479XT
(ii) REFERENCE NUMBER: SA70181139
(iii) BATCH NUMBER: SLCY-0385-PCR
Below are the details required from you:
Please contact the under listed claims officer as soon as possible with your details for the immediate release of your
Contact Person: Name: Dominic Bruce
Note that a mandatory US$175 Must be paid to APX Courier (www.apx-air-courier.com) before your check will be shipped. This
charge is not deductible and it is the ONLY amount you have to pay to receive your prize.
Premiium Cash Rewards