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")
- ",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)
- 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.
- +447035918642 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr. Williams Cole" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2009 13:40:19 -0700
Subject: FROM MICROSOFT MEGA JACKPOT 2009
FROM MICROSOFT MEGA JACKPOT 2009
REF NO: MSW/56B-672GH/L
MICROSOFT EMAIL LOTTERY AWARD PROMOTION: UNITED KINGDOM Finally today,
announce the winners of the MICROSOFT MEGA JACKPOT LOTTO WINNINGS
PROGRAMS held early this month 2009. Your company or your personal
e-mail address, attached to winning number 23-76-06-54-42-100, with
serial number 647489, consequently won in the Tenth lottery category.
You have been approved for lump sums pay out of ?850,000.00 (Eight
hundred and fifty thousand pounds starlings) in cash Credited to
file REF NO: MSW/56B-672GH/L and winning number 23-76-06-54-42-100.
Selection process was carried out through random selection in our computerized
email selection machine (TOPAZ) from a database of over 1,000,000
email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world.
The online draws was conducted by a random selection of email addresses
from an exclusive list of 29,031 E-mail addresses of individuals and
corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random computer
search from the internet. No ticket was sold but all email
addresses were assigned to different ticket numbers for representation
and privacy. This is to encourage our prominent Microsoft Internet Explorer users
all over the world, and for the Continues use of E-mail.
Your fund has been insured with your REF NO: MSW/56B-672GH/L and
winning number 23-76-06-54-42-100. To claim your winning prize, You
are to reply to this letter In order to avoid unnecessary delays and
complications, please remember to quote your reference and winning
numbers in all correspondences with your claims officer. You are to
keep all lotto information away from the general public especially your ticket
number and ballot number.(This is important as a case of double claims
will not be entertained)
PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU ARE TO SEND THE BELOW INFORMATION REQUIRED TO
CLAIM YOUR WINNING PRIZE:
1. Full Name:
4. Age/Date of Birth:
6. Your Office; Telephone and fax. Phone:
7. Mobile Telephone
8. State of Origin: Country:
Dr. Williams Cole
Tel: + 4470359 18642