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:
- 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:
- "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.
- +34645749452 (Spain, prepaid mobile phone)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Regina Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2009 11:44:20 +0200
Subject: REFERENCE NUMBER: FRE/ESP/E-6587
CUSTOMER SERVICE, MADRID SPAIN
REFERENCE NUMBER: FRE/ESP/E-6587
BATCH NUMBER: 2009/430/CA
OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION.
We are pleased to inform you of the released results of the Sweepstakes
Promotion organized by Microword Corporations,
in conjunction with the foundation for the promotion of software products,
held this June 2009, here in Madrid,Spain.
Where your email address emerged as one of the online winning emails, in
the 3rd category and therefore attracted a cash
award of 450,000.00 (Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand Euros Only) and a
To begin your claim, file the release of your winning by contacting our
Foreign Transfer Manager via email or by telephone
These are your identification numbers:
CONTACT EVENTS AGENT MANAGER Send your winning identification numbers
Mr. Benard Sanchez
You are therefore advised to send the following information to the
Foreign transfer manager to facilitate them and process the COURIER of
1. Full name..............
5. Contact Address........
6. Telephone Number.......
7. Marital Status.........
This Email Lottery is sponsored by Microword Corporations and all the
members of MSFT Word Resource Consortium Software
Promotion Companies including Intel Group, Toshiba and Dell Computers.
This internet E-mail draw is held periodically and
is organized to encourage the use of the Internet and promote computer