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 phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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.
- +447011172594 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +448717156352 (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)
Fraud email example:
From: "PROMOTIONSPRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT," <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2009 01:47:36 -0700
Subject: REF NO: M154S/WL04-F0442623
FROM: THE DESK OF THE DIRECTORATE PROMOTIONS,INTERNATIONAL
PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT,
REF NO: M154S/WL04-F0442623
Finally today,we announce the winners of the AOL/MICROSOFT MEGA JACKPOT
LOTTO WINNINGS PROGRAMS held on 25th,June, 2009.Your personal e-mail
address, won in the second lottery category 002. Consequently,you have
therefore been approved for a total pay out of £500,000.00 Pounds (Five
Hundred Thousand pounds Sterllings) only. The following particulars are
attached to your lottery payment order:Credited to file REF NO: M154S/
WL04-F0442623.and MICRO (LOTTERY) CHIP NO: 9465021, you are the second
lucky winner of the total winners of 10.
All the 10 participants were selected through our Microsft computer
ballot system (MCBS) drawn from each continent, as part of
International "E-MAIL" Promotions Program, to promote the use of
emails all over the World, and to promote the use of Microsoft Office.
Your funds (certified and to promote the use of AOL/Microsoft Office.
Your funds (certified Cashiers cheque) have been insured with your REF
NO: M154S/WL04-F0442623.To claim your winning prize, you must first,
contact the claims agent with below required details.
1. Full Name
2. Contact Address
4. Marital Status
6. Telephone Number
ADMIN CLAIM AGENT DEPT.
Name: Danny Peterson,
Phone: +44 70111 72594