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:
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "million pounds" (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)
- ",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)
- "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)
- 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.
- +447035960866 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +448709744065 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Guinness Anniversary" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 14:18:19 -0500 (COT)
Subject: Guinness conducted 250th anniversary draws
James house, 1a
Guinness trust,ford hill,
London, N217TE, United Kingdom.
We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded annual
final draws of Guinness world-wide celebration program.Guinness world-wide
draws was conducted on-line by an automated random computer ballot search
from the Internet. No tickets were sold.
This draw is conducted to Mark Guinness 250th anniversary.
After this automated computer ballot, your e-mail address attached to
serial number 01-98-87 drew the lucky numbers 2-16-41-26--92, which
consequently emerged you as our only winner in the United Kingdom Booklet.
You been approved for a lump prize off of 1,000,000.00(One Million Pounds)
in cash credited to File Number GU/08/250XN.
To begin your claim, you are required to send the necessary information to
London help line with the information below: Name---- Country----
Address--- Occupation--- Lucky number--- serial number---
Guinness Promo Helpline
Information and Payment Bureau:
United Kingdom Office
Mr. William Philips