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:
- "dear friend" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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 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 (Yahoo, Brazil; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Cathring Hover." (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2009 15:05:08 -0700
Subject: Certified bank draft of $500,000.00 usd.
My Dear Friend.
Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trust worthiness you showed at the course of the Uk Online Lotto winning Cheque shipment to your location, I want to compensate you and show my gratitude to you with the sum of $500,000.00USD (Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) I have authorized the finance house where I deposited the money to issue you international certified bank draft cashable at your bank world wide.
My dear winner, I will like you to contact the CEO in charge of the finance house for the collection of this international certify bank draft. The name of the Person with your Cheque is *******MR JOSHUA GOLF*******.
COMPENSATION AND FINANCE HOUSE HEAD OFFICE
CONTACT AGENT: MR JOSHUA GOLF
At the moment, I am very busy at Sydney, Australia because of the investment projects which myself and my new partner *********Mr. Peter Hill******* of Express Delivery Company are having at hand. Finally, remember that I have forwarded instruction to the ******Mr. Joshua******* at the finance house on your behalf to send the bank draft to you as soon as you contact him without delay. Please I will like you to accept this token with good faith as this is from the bottom of my heart. Thanks and God bless you and your family. Hope to hear from you soon.
1, Full Name:...........
2, Address of Residence:..........
3, country from:..................
4, Telephone Number:.................
My sincere advice to you as a Christian is that you should Endeavour to pay your tithe to a bible believing church when you get the money because I noticed it as a fiduciary agent that you were skeptical about your winnings when you were been ask by the Uk lotto Agency Inc to file out a claim for your prize. And now the current policy of the Lotto organizers is that if an emerged winner fails to claim up his/her winning cheque of E500,000Pounds,it's now mandatory that this fund can be remitted or forfeited to the fiduciary agent in charge of this winners file.
However, I want you to contact him immediately as soon as you receive this information because he is leaving for Spain by the end of this month and this might cost a delay meant for you to receive this draft.
Mrs. Cathring Hover.