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:
- 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")
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- +447024019598 (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Yahoo Lottery Inc!!!!!!" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2009 17:15:47 -0700
Subject: CONGRATULATION!! YOUR E MAIL HAVE WON GBP£970,000.00
Yahoo Inc! is pleased to inform you that you have won GBP?970,000.00 [British Pounds Sterling] only, as one of our lucky prizewinners in the "Yahoo Inc! All Email Lottery Promo Draw held on 4th of June 2009.
You are advice to fill out the information below and send it to your Claims Officer for payment.
1. Full name:
2. Full address:
4. Age / Sex:
6. Country of residence:
7. Tel./Cell number:
PLEASE NOTE: - Send your information to:
Name: MR.RICHARD COPLAND.
E-mail: email@example.com /firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you and congratulations!
MRS. Hilary Blair
FOR: The Board of Directors.
YAHOO! All e-mail lottery, 2009.
[You must be 16 or over to play or claim a prize].
Copyright © 2009 Yahoo! All rights reserved.
Group 4 Securicor.
Wackenhut de Guatemala S.A.
Avenida Petapa 42-51 Zona 12
PBX (502) 2421-8000
Wackenhut Guatemala, S.A. is part of the Group 4 Securicor group of companies.
This communication contains information which may be confidential, personal and/or privileged.
It is for the exclusive use of the intended recipient(s). If you are not the intended recipient(s), please note that any distribution,
forwarding, copying or use of this communication or the information in it is strictly prohibited.
Any personal views expressed in this e-mail are those of the individual sender and Wackenhut de Guatemala, S.A. does not endorse or accept
responsibility for them.
Prior to taking any action based upon this e-mail message, you should seek appropriate confirmation of its authenticity.