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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claims agent" (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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Netherlands Lotto 2009" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Dec 2009 16:48:26 -0800
Subject: Call To Confirm!!!
CONGRATULATIONS YOUR EMAIL WON!!!
MOTTO: FIGHTING POVERTY TODAY AROUND THE WORLD
FROM THE DESK OF E-MAIL
Reference No:GP 14-M-246-04
BATCH NO: 573881545-NL/2009
WINNER NO: 7
ELECTRONIC E-MAIL AWARD WINNING NOTIFICATION
AWARD PRESENTATION CENTER: AMSTERDAM-NETHERLANDS.
We are pleased to inform you of the result of the last final annual draw of our LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL Programs. The online cyber lotto draws was conducted from an exclusive list of 25,000,000 e-mail addresses of
individuals and corporate institutions,picked by an advanced automated random computer search from the internet.No tickets were sold.
After this automated computer ballot, your e-mail address emerged as a winner in the category "A" with the following numbers attached Ref: Number:GP 14-M-246-04,Batch Number:573881545-NL/2007 and Ticket Number: PP 3502 /8707-01.
You are therefore to receive a cash prize of $2,500,000.00. ( Two Million Five Hundred Thousand ) from the totalpayout.
Your prize award has been insured with your e-mail address and will be transferred to you upon meeting our requirements, statutory obligations, verifications, validations and satisfactory report. To file in for the
processing of your prize winnings, you are advised to contact our Certified and Accredited claims agent for category "A" winners with the information below:
Mr. Wesly Van Gogh.
Tel: +31 633 664 359
Fax:+31 84 739 0336
You are advice to provide him with the following information:
NOTE: All winnings must be claimed not later than (14) days; thereafterunclaimed funds would be included in the next stake. Remember to quote your reference information in all correspondence. You are to keep all lottery information confidential, especially your reference and ticket numbers.
(This is important as a case of double claim will not be tolerated).Members of affiliated agencies are PROHIBITED from participating in this program.
Furthermore, should there be any change of address, do inform our agent as soon as possible.
Congratulations once more from our members of staff and thank you for being part of our Promotional Program.
This email may contain information which is confidential and/or privileged. The information is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity named above. If you ar not the intended recipient,
be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the contents is prohibited.If you have received this electronic transmission in error,please notify the sender by telephone or return email and delete the material from your computer.
Mrs.Jenneke van Deuren