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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "the bmw automobile company" (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")
- ",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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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!
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- +447024057793 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "BMW AUTOMOBILES GROUP PROMOTION" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 15:38:14 +0300 (EEST)
Subject: RE-CONFIRM YOUR DETAILS...
BMW® AUTOMOBILES GROUP PROMOTION
PUBLIC RELATIONS DEPARTMENT,
BMW Automobiles House, 22 Garden Close, Edmonton, Lincs,
PE9 2YP, London, United Kingdom.
:::YEAR 2009 EMAIL PRIZE AWARDS:::
Dear Valuable Winner,
This is to inform you that your email address attached to TICKET
NUMBER: (BMW2752246897) have been selected for a cash prize of
500,000 GBP which is equivalent to $917,956.00 USD, for the new
year online promotions from the BMW e-LOTTERY BONANZA
International programs, held on the 27th of June 2009 over here in
London, United Kingdom.
The selection process was carried out through random selection in
our computerized email selection system (ESS) from a database of
over 250,000,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of
the world.We at BMW AUTOMOBILE Global office (UK)like to officially
congratulate you on our yearly raffle draw that was held by our
Company, which featured you as the second place winner. This
promotional lottery is the 3rd of its kind and we intend to
sensitize the public.
How do I claim my prize? All claim will be verified and processed by
our fiduciary claims agent, you are therefore required to file an
application mail notice for claim to our claims agent and
representative in the United Kingdom with the requested information
below. Upon the confirmation and verification of your status, your
prize funds will be made available for payment,
NAME: Barrister Moore Smith.
Contact him by providing him with your secret pin code or Batch
number: UK/X7PYWM2009 and your Reference Number: BMW/2551256003/23.
You are also advised to provide him with the under listed information's as
soon as possible:
1. Name in full:_____________________
We know you must be excited and very happy about this news you have
just received from us and the truth is that we are doing this to put
smiles into homes and hearts of people worldwide. Special greetings
from the entire Staffs of the BMW AUTOMOBILE COMPANY.
Mr. Bob Dorney-David,
THE DIRECTOR PROMOTIONS,
BMW PUBLIC RELATIONS DEPARTMENT,UNITED KINGDOM.
NOTE: Late response is not accepted. Misconduct and non-adherence to
instructions leads to prize termination.
**(NB)**: You may also receive similar e-mails from people portraying to
be other Organizations or Yahoo Microsoft Inc. This is solely to collect
your personal information from you and lay claim over your winning. In
event that you receive any e-mail similar to the notification letter that
was sent to you, kindly delete it from your mail box and give no further
correspondence to such person or body. BMW shall not be held responsible
for any loss of fund arising from the above mentioned. Winners are also
advised to keep their winning details/information from the public to avoid
fraudulent claim (IMPORTANT).
THE BMW INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS PROMOTION,
COPYRIGHT ©2009. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.