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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- ",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.
- +34665985717 (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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Euro Milliones Board." (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 18 Jul 2009 18:46:03 +0200
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam,
We wish to congratulate you over your email success in our computer Balloting .This is a Millennium Scientific Electronic Computer Games in which email addresses were used. All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over 100,000 company and 50,000,000 individual email addresses from all over the world. It is a promotional program aimed at encouraging internet users; therefore you do not need to buy ticket to enter for it.
Your email address drew and have won the sum of 750,000 Euros ( Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Euros) in cash cr edited to file with REFERENCE NUMBER: ESP/WIN/008/05/10/MA WINNING NUMBER : 14-17-24-34-37-45-16 BATCH NUMBERS : EULO/1007/444/606/08; SERIAL NUMBER: 45327 and PROMOTION DATE: 17th July. 2009.
To claim your winning prize, you are to cont act the appointed agent below as soon as possible for the immediate release of your winnings with the below details.
1) Your Full Name:
2) Your Telephone Number:
3) Your Mobile Number:
4) Fax Number (If available)
AXA SEGUROS S. A.
Contact Person: Mr. Paul Herold. ( Foreign Operations Manager )
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Congratulations once again from all our staff.
Mrs Hector Palmira. (Secretary)
Euro Milliones Board.