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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- 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.
- +22546990001 (Cote d'Ivoire, probably a prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: "Roth" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2009 17:56:40 -0000
FROM THE DESK OF MANAGINE DIRECTOR
MTN LOTTERY PROGRAM COTE DIVOIRE
CLAIM FILE NUMBER: FEF/8815355573318 Abidjan: 5/02/2009
BATCH NUMBER: 24232116675
ATTENTION: MTN LOTTO WINNER,
RE: AWARD FINAL NOTIFICATION
We are pleased to inform you today 5th day of February. 2009 for the release of the MTN LOTTERY PROGRAM Held on the 30 January 2009.
Your name attached to the ticket number 011-23-440-192-075 drew the lucky number 321-90-12-05-00-11 which consequently won the lottery in the 1st category. You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay of US$950,950.00 (NINE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND, NINE HUNDRED AND FIFTY UNITED STATES DOLLARS ONLY) in cash credited to file NO: FEF/8815355573318. This is From a Total Cash Prize of US$25,756.820.00 (TWENTY FIVE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY SIX THOUSAND, EIGHT HUNDRED AND TWENTY DOLLARS ONLY) shared Among International Winners in This category. CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Your fund is now deposited with a finance company insured with your name. please note that your claim file number, and batch numbers are the key to your funds claim, you are to keep this as a top confidential until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your bank account as this is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unwarranted taking of advantage of this program by participants.
All Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 25,000 names from Europe, Africa,Asia,Australia and America as part of our international promotional program which we conduct three times every year. We hope with a part of your prize you will take part in our next high stake USD1.3 BILLION MTN LOTTERY.
To begin your claim, please contact your claim agent Mr. Jean Wado, the foreign operations manager FEF SECURITY & FINANCE COMPANY TEL: +225 46 990 001
E.MAIL:email@example.com for processing and transfer of your prize money to your designated bank account. Remember all prize money must be claimed not latter than 20th February 2009. After this date, all funds will be return to the Ministerial De economic CI as unclaimed funds.
NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delay and complications, please remember to quote your file and batch numbers in every correspondence with your claims agent, furthermore, should there be any change of address, do notify your claims agent as soon as possible.
Congratulations again from all our staff and thank you for being a part of our promotional program.
MRS. HANNA ROTH