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:
- ",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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- 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.
- 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: "Euro Miliones Lottery" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 05:23:24 -0000 (UTC)
Subject: Dear Beneficiary,
We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Euro Miliones Lottery
Winners International programs held on the 12th Dec,2009. Your e-mail
address attached to ticket number 220982217413-7240 with batch number
34708-325 reference number 3-34-28-13-41 which consequently won in the 1st
category,you have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay of 550,000,00
(five Hundred and Fifty Thousand Euro) CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep your winning
information confidential until your claims has been processed and your
money Remitted to you. This is part of our security protocol to avoid
double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some
participants.All participants were selected through a computer ballot
system drawn from over 20,000 companies and 30,000,000 individual email
addresses and names from all over the world. This promotional program
takes place every three years. To file for your claim, please contact our
Contact person Mr Javier Lopez.
Contact Tel:+34 603 109 740
Please note, in order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications,
please remember to quote your reference number and batch numbers in all
correspondence. Furthermore, should there be any change of address do
inform our agent as soon as possible.
Congratulations once more from the members of Euro Miliones Lottery staffs
and thank you for being part of our promotional program.