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:
- ",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)
- "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)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
- +34693572631 (Spain, 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: "Mrs. Ena Gonzalez" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2009 01:14:53 +0200
Subject: MSD Lottery Award!
MSD Lottery Award
CUSTOMER SERVICE, BARCELONA.
REFERENCE NUMBER: DHA/-6587
BATCH NUMBER: 2009/430 /MCV
OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION.
We are pleased to inform you of the released results of the Microword Corporations
Sweepstakes Promotion in conjunction with foundations for the promotion of software
products organized for Software users.
This Program was held on 11th June, 2009, in Barcelona- Spain.
Wherein your email address emerged as one of the online Winning emails in the
3rd category and therefore attracted a cash award of EUR1,500,000.00 (One Million Five
Hundred Thousand Euros) and a Compaq laptop. Your laptop, certificate of
winnings and your cheque of (EUR1 500,000.00 Euros) will be sent to your contact address
in your location.
Please take note, lucky winners will pay for their courier services delivery.
Microword corporations only provides lucky winners with a laptop and the sum of
(EUR1 500,000.00 Euros) only. To file for claims of the release of your winnings,
Contact the Customer Service Officer with the information below:
10) REFERENCE NUMBER
Tel/Fax: +34 693 572 631
Contact Person: Manuel Borreria [CSO]
This Email Lottery is sponsored by Microword Corporation and all the members
of MSFT Word Resource Consortium Software Promotion Companies.
This internet E-mail draw is held periodically and is organized to encourage
the use of the Internet products and promote computer literacy worldwide.
Mrs. Ena Gonzalez