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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- The following fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "uk national lottery" (can only win this lottery if you bought a ticket)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- ",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 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.
- +447031851744 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +448704796143 (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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "UK NATIONAL LOTTERY ORGANIZATION" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 11:39:28 +0200
Subject: CONGRATULATION!!!!!!!! YOU ARE ONE OF OUR LUCKY WINNERS
United Kingdom National Lottery
No.18 Stirling House.Woolich
Se 18 6up,London.
FROM: THE DESK OF THE PROMOTION MANAGER.
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/ PROCESSING PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT
We are pleased to announce you as one of the 3 lucky winners in the Uk National Lottery draw held today. All 3 winning addresses were randomly selected from a batch of 5,000,000 international emails. Your email address emerged alongside to others as a 3rd category winner in this month's draw.
Consequently, you have therefore been approved for a total pay out of =A3500,000.00 Pounds (Five Hundred Thousand pounds) only. The following particulars are attached to your lotto payment order:
(i) Winning numbers: 02, 03, 21, 24, 38, 44
(2) Serial number: 21-8-1974
(3) Lotto batch number: 14/0017/1PD
(4) Reference number: EGS/2251256003/03
(5) Full Name.......................
Please call DR.LESLEY JONES as soon as you read through this notification before sending him email@example.com
Claims Department Manager
Tel: +44 7031851744
Fax: +44 8704796143
Once again on behalf of all our staff, CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Mrs. Lisa Eldon
1.All claims are nullified after 60 working days from today.
2. Your Ref number must be in all your mails with the claims officer.
3. Do inform the claims officer of any change of names or addresses.
4. All winners under the age of 18 are automatically disqualified.
5. Please contact your claims agent by fax or email "Dr.lesley Jones. Email; firstname.lastname@example.org