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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- 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.
- +447035902789 (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: "Microsoft E-mail Promotions"<email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 06:50:52 +1200
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS - YOU HAVE WON
CONGRATULATIONS - YOU HAVE WON
The MICROSOFT EMAIL PROMO TEAM is glad to announce that
after a successful completion of the PROMO DRAWS held on the
21st August 2009,your e-mail address,attached to winning
numbers:(11) (80) (12)(96) (09) (43) won in the Tenth
You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of
£150,000,00 GBP(One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Great British Pounds
Sterling) in cash credited to file REF NO:MICRO-L/2009-END10.
BATCH NO:2009MJL-05, this is from a total prize money of
£3,750,000 (Three Million,Seven hundred and Fifty Thousand
British Pounds Sterling),shared among the Twenty five (25)
international winners in this category.
All participants were selected through our Microsoft computer
ballot system drawn from 167,000 Names,as part of our
International \"E-MAIL"\ Promotion Program for our prominent
MS-WORD users all over the world and for the continuous use
of the internet. You are advised to contact the claims
processor with the details below via his e-mail address :
NAME: Keith Bryan
TEL: +44 703 590 2789
PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU ARE TO SEND THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION TO
CLAIM YOUR WINNINGS:
In order to avoid unnecessary delay and complications,please
remember to quote your reference and winning ticket number in
all correspondence with your claims officer.Your secret pin
code is 092075ML.Be warned that cases of double claims and
unwarranted abuse of this program will be legally pursued.
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