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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- ",500,000" (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)
- 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.
- +27836691790 (South Africa, prepaid mobile phone)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: milla <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 12:18:10 +0200
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS YOU HAVE WON THE SUM OF US$1,450,000.00
(South African Flag) (South African Flag) PLATINUM LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL
FRIST QUARTER OF THE YEAR 2008
YOU ARE THE WINNER OF THE COMPUTER PROMOTIONAL DRAW.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p>THIS MESSAGE IS FROM THE CO-ORDINATOR,<o:p></o:p>INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT<o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p>PLATINUM LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL<o:p></o:p>YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS HAVE WON, THE SUM OF US$1,450,000.00<o:p></o:p>ON THE COMPUTER BALLOT SYSTEM.<o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p>PLEASE CONTACT: (Dr MILLA NAZI )
YOUR CLAIM AGENT FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE PAYMENT:
PHONE NO.+27 836-691-790.
EMAIL: Millanazi1920@yahoo.co.uk [mailto:Millanazi1920@yahoo.co.uk] [mailto:Millanaz1922@hotmail.coM] (ZENITH CAPITAL MANAGEMENT SA)*
PRIZE AWARD NOTIFICATION*<o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p>We are pleased to inform you of the announcement made on 16th Apirl 2008 about winners of the PLATINUM LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS, as part of our promotional draws. Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 2,500,000 email addresses of individuals and companies from all part of
the world as part of our electronic business Promotions Program.<o:p></o:p