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:
- "greater london" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",000,000" (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)
- "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.
- +447035944779 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +448700688245 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "United Kingdom Department of Humanitarian Affairs" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2009 19:50:05 +0200 (CEST)
Subject: Batch number.....................UNESCO 09102XN
United Nations Organization.
United Kingdom Department of Humanitarian Affairs
Baley House, Har RoadSutton, Greater London SM1 4te.United Kingdom.
We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded annual
final draws of United Nations Organization Trust Funds.
United Nations Organization draws was conducted from an exclusive list of
47,000,000 e-mail addresses of individual and corporate bodies picked by
an advanced automated random computer ballot search from the internet as
part of our international promotions program which was conducted this year.
No tickets were sold.
After this automated computer ballot, your e-mail address attached to
serial number 06-3434 drew the lucky numbers 154/4456/011 which consequently
emerged you as one of the lucky winners in this category.
You have therefore been approved for a lump sum payout of Six Hundred And
Fifty Thousand Five hundred Great British Pound Sterlings(Â£650,500.00).
Note that all prize funds must be claimed not later than 3 weeks. After
this date all funds will be returned to the United Nations TREASURY as
In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please endeavour to
quote your Reference Number:UNESCO 35447XN and Batch numbers:UNESCO
every correspondence with your agent.
These are your identification numbers:
Batch number.....................UNESCO 09102XN
Reff number.......................UNESCO 35447XN
Winning number...................UNESCO 154/4456/011XN
1.FULL NAMES OF DONATION BENEFICIARY:
Do contact our payment office immediately with the informations below.
Information and Payment Bureau:
London Representative Office.
Payment Officer:Walter Anderson.
Mr Ban Ki-moon.
(UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL)