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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "microsoft lottery" (no such lottery exists)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "million 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 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.
- +447035982020 (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
Subject: Ref No: 919347/749-0
The Microsoft Award Team
Morley House, 26-30 Holborn Viaduct,
London EC1A 2BP.U.K.
Batch No: 3566465021-0TA/06.
Ref No: 919347/749-0
Winning No: 7-28-87-65-69-73.
CONGRATULATION! CONGRATULATION!! CONGRATULATION!!!
Dear Lucky Winner,
The prestigious Microsoft / MSN has set out and successfully organized a Sweepstakes marking the year 2009 anniversary. Rolled out over US$ 300,000,000.00 (Three Hundred Million U. S Dollars Only) for this years Anniversary Draws. Email addresses of participants for the draws were randomly selected and drawn from a wide range of internet web hosting which we enjoy their patronage. The MICROSOFT 2009 PROMOTIONS was held on the month of January 2009 in Stamford Bridge Stadium, London United Kingdom . Your email address has therefore been approved to claim a total sum of (US$ 1 Million) One Million United States Dollars Only in cash credited to File KTU/9023118308/03.
To file for your claim, please contact your Claims Agent immediately through his contact information as follows:
Name: Mr. Richard Lioyd.
Tel: (+4470359 82020)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Please provide the following details for processing of your claim.
1, Names in full:
2, Country of Residence:
4, Residential Address:
5, Date of Birth/Age:
6, Marital Status/Sex:
7, Telephone /Fax No:
8, Mobile No:
10, Company name:
11, Monthly Income:
12, Amount Won:
13, Email address:
14, Ref No:
15, Winning No:
Mrs. Grace Sander.
Online coordinator for MICROSOFT UK ON-LINE PROMOTIONS. Sweepstakes International Program. Copyright © 1994-2009 The Microsoft UK Online Lottery
Inc. All rights reserved. Terms of Service - Guidelines. Microsoft has obtained your contact details from public internet sources. We thought that you could be attracted to be part of this promotion with our company © Copyright 2009 Microsoft Lottery promotion All Right Reserve"