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:
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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.
- +447045785875 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: Microsoft Award Team <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 04 Jan 2010 23:29:19 -0300
Microsoft Award Team
Victoria Street London
SW1E 5JL,United Kingdom
Dear Internet User,
This is to inform you that the sum of £500.000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand
Great Britain Pounds) has been awarded to you as cash grant from the
Microsoft and AOL Company for this year 2009 cash grant Award.
Your email address as indicated was drawn and attached to ticket number
080775787555 with serial numbers BTD/0257903122/07 and drew the lucky
numbers 04-06-09-90-09-22(07) which subsequently won you £500.000
(Five Hundred Thousand Great Britain Pounds)The draws registered as Draw
number one was conducted in Brockley,London United Kingdom on the 04th
of January 2010.
Contact your fiduciary agent Mr.Gilbert Wood, Head Winning Claims Dept.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , Tel: +447045785875
with the information listed below.
Our special thanks and gratitude to Bill Gates and his associates.
We wish you the best of luck.
Head Customer Care Service
Microsoft Promotion Team