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 phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- 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.
- +31630800322 (Netherlands, 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 15:16:32 GMT
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS YOU HAVE WON
INTERNATIONAL CASINO ONLINE LOTTERY AND PROMOTIONS.
GASTRITIS 264, AMSTERDAM,
FROM: THE DESK OF THE MANAGING DIRECTOR
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION/PRIZE AWARD DEPT,
WINNING NUMBER: EPW-11/221/122.
This is to notify you that your email address has won you the sum of (One Million Euros) from the International Casino Online Lottery promotions. All the E-mail addresses were selected from a data base of internet e-mail users which your e-mail address came out as the winning coupon. The Expiring date of your winning prize is 30th of October, 2008. Contact our claims Agent with your Winning number above.
International Casino Online Lottery Agency.
Miss. Gillian Luz.
Director of winning claim department.
Mrs. Eli Kuper.
Promotion Award Co-Coordinator.