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.
- 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:
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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. )
- 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.
- +448709740213 (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: "LOTTERY AWARD 2009" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 2009 17:05:57 -0300 (BRT)
Subject: Winning Claims Requirements
Ref. N?: NLU/63120973/LY
Batch. N?: 08/H3401/3UK
YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS WON THE LOTTERY AWARD 2009
We wish to congratulate you over your email success in our computer
balloting sweepstake held on 1st September, 2009. This is a millennium
scientific computer game in which email addresses were used. It is a
promotional program aimed at encouraging internet users; therefore you do
not need to buy ticket to enter for it.Your email address attached to
Ticket No:8VY5710428 with Serial No:173/02 drew the UKLucky
No:6-6-43-00-47-90 which consequently won the draw in the Secondcategory.
You have been approve for the star prizeof (£600,000.00) Six Hundred
Thousand Pounds Sterling
You are advised to keep this winning very confidential until you receive
your lump prize in your account or optional cheque issuance to you.This is
a protective measure to avoid double claiming by people you may tell as we
have had cases like this before, please send your Full Name,Home and
Office Tel & Fax Number, Mobile Tel Number and your winning ticket number,
reference numbers and amount won information for processing of your
winning fund to our registered claim agent in address
Contact Agent: Mr. David Bates
Foreign Services Directorate/ Operation Personnel
Pacifico Sistemas Informáticos GmbH & Co.
E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Fax:+44-870 974 0213
Be informed that the appointed agent will be required to swear affidavits
of lotto claim also remember, all winning must be claimed not later than
30th of September 2009. Please note, in order to avoid unnecessary delays
and complications, remember to quote your reference number and batch
number in all correspondence. Furthermore, should there be any change of
inform our agent as soon as possible. Once again congratulations. Your
email adress has brougt to you this unexpected luck. CONGRATULATIONS,