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 agent" (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)
- "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)
- "u.k " (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- +447031906815 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "VW MOTORS" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 7 Oct 2009 08:19:53 +0800
Volkswagen MOTORS WORLDWIDE LTD.
Internet User Encouragement Promotions
P.O. Box 999
We are officially announcing to you the result of VW Motors Email Lottery Promotion held on the 24th September 2009 as part of our programs to Launch our multi million dollar office that was commissioned on 18th of September 2009 in Manchester United Kingdom. Your email was attached to ticket number VJETTA-UK-VP990003-M4GA with draw number P93VWJ which consequently won you in the 2nd category prize, your email address was extracted from our electronic email extraction system which randomly selected Fifteen (15) Lucky Winners of which your email address was among one of the lucky winner. You have therefore been approved for a payout of a total sum 850,000 GBP (EIGHT HUNDRED & FIFTY THOUSAND POUNDS).
We also advise that you keep your winning information very confidential as our security policy demands to avoid double claims/impersonation and unwarranted abuse of this program by some individuals. The selection process was carried our through our computerized Email Selection System (ESS) which selects email from a database of over 600,000 email address was drawn from all over the continents of the World. This promotions being the first of its kind will now take place annually and we hope you will also take part in our next year One Million Pounds Pound Sterling International Lottery Game. To file your claim, you are to contact our Customer Service Unit authorized to conduct the necessary Verification to enable you receive your Cash Prize.(You will receive more email upon acknowledgment of this email).
Customer Service Unit
CONTRACTED AGENCY: EDDIE GOODMAN & ASSOCIATES
Mr. Eddie Goodman.
+44 703 190 6815
20 Queens land Road, London
SW2 3JB ENGLAND. U.K
You are to call your claims agent assigned for your claims, or send an email to them, you are to provide to your agents the below under listed information as soon as possible:
1. NAME IN FULL:
2. ADDRESS (IN FULL):
6. OCCUPATION (POSITION HELD):
7. HOME PHONE & MOBILE NUMBER:
This program is promoted and sponsored by Microsoft,Emirates Airline and the Shell Group and we intend to use this medium to help individuals generate fortunes, which would encourage them to expand their business frontiers thereby creating more opportunities and assisting with humanitarian Concerns within
their immediate environment. All winning must be claimed not later than one Week of Acknowledgment. After this date all unclaimed funds will be returned to VW Motors Treasury as Unclaimed.
Yours in service,
(Programs & Events).
Material Copyright © 2009 The VW Co. Ltd.