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:
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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)
- "email@example.com" (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 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: "MACAU LOTTO" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 11:08:59 +0800
Subject: 2009 LUCKY JAMBO DRAW
MACAU CASINO JUMBO DRAW
FOREIGN SERVICES MANAGER,
ASIA PACIFIC CHINA
PAYMENT TO MAKE BY ATM CARD ONLY
Due to the large profit being earn by the Casino and moguls and related tourist attraction here in Macau,
with revenue running into billions the promotion council have decided to help stimulate the world economy
by email balloting of people that have email in the internet by random selection and your email is among the
selected email and you are qualify to receive the lump sum of USD500,000.00
And due to fraud assocaited with this type of promotion we have instructed all payment to be made through
ATM CARD payment so that all winners will be able to receive their fund in their country and use the ATM CARD
to withdraw it form any ATM MACHINE in their respective countries. Your winning fall into China agent section
TO CLAIM CONTACT
Mr Florence Lai
1.Name in full:
Send above information in your correspondences with your claims agent.
reply to your agent immediately,
Mr Florence Lai