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.
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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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
- +31643862769 (Netherlands, prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: "ONLINE PROMO" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2009 15:41:22 +0200
Subject: CALL TO CONFIRM,,
NOTIFICATION FOR CASH AID.
This is to notify you that you have been chosen By the Board of trustees of the above International charity organization based in the Netherlands as one of the final recipients of a Cash Grant/Donation for your own personal, education and business development.
Based on the random selection exercise of internet websites and millions of Super market cash invoices worldwide you were selected among the lucky recipients to receive the award sum of US$2,500,000.00 as charity donations/aid from the Stitching INGKA Foundation and the UNO in accordance with the enabling act of Parliament(note that your email was selected from either the internet, after absolute viewing of your profile or a Shop's cash invoice around your area in which you might have purchased something from).
You are required to expeditiously Contact the Executive Secretary below for qualification documentation and processing of your claims, from Monday through Sunday.
On contact with this officer, you'll be given your donation pin number which you will use in collecting the funds. You are to contact back this email when you have collected your US$2,500,000.00
Please endeavor to quote your Qualification numbers (N-882-1237, N-900-16) in all discussions.
Mr. Van Nelson
You will provide him with the following information:
Finally, all funds should be claimed by their respective beneficiaries, not later that 7 days after notification, as failure to do so will be to that particular beneficiary cancelled and its donation reserved for next years receipients.
On behalf of the Board kindly accept our warmest congratulations
Mrs. Hilda Williams