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.
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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")
- ",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 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 (AOL Instant Messenger; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Carolyn T. Willis (Mrs.)" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 24 Dec 2009 09:54:48 +0100
Subject: *Christmas Greetings*
This is to inform you that your email address has just won 1,000,000.00 (One million Euros). Your e-mail
address attached to ticket number S/N-00168, serial number S/N-00168, drew the lucky numbers
887-13-865-37-10-83 which consequently won in the 1st category.
All participants from the online version were selected randomly from World Wide Web sites through computer
draw system and extracted from over 100,000 unions, associations, and corporate bodies that are listed
PLEASE CONTACT OUR APPROVED AGENT FOR YOUR REGION WITH YOUR WINNING NUMBER AND
YOUR FILLED CLAIMS VERIFICATION FORM BELOW.
WINNING NUMBER: Sts-L/11/17/18/25/08
STAATS LOTERIJ: S7.0
VERIFICATION FORM BELOW:
1. Full Name:
4. Age: Date of Birth:
6. Phone: Fax: Country:
Upon receipt of the requested data, you will be provided with contact information of the payment bank so
you can contact them for the immediate release of your winnings to you. Do contact your claims officer
Carolyn T. Willis at once by email.
CONGRATULATIONS FROM ALL MEMBERS AND STAFF OF STAATS LOTERIJ.
Carolyn T. Willis (Mrs.)
DIRECTOR; CLAIMS DEPARTMENT.