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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "toyota car international promotion program" (no such lottery exists)
- "toyota fortune lotto" (no such lottery exists)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "claim 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)
- "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 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: "TOYOTA" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2010 22:54:52 +0800
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS FROM TOYOTA OFFICE CHINA!!!
Toyota Car Lottery International Promotions China,
Customer Service Department
Toyota Motor Corporations, China.
28 Tanfield Road Tiaxiu lio Beijing China
PRIZE AWARD NOTIFICATION
We are pleased to inform you of the announcement made today, You are among the winners of the TOYOTA CAR INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION PROGRAM Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 2,500,000 email addresses of individuals and companies from all part of the world as part of our electronic business Promotions Program.
As a result of your visiting various websites we are running the E-business promotions for. You/Your Company email address, attached to ticket number 719-226-1319, with serial number 902-66 drew the lucky numbers 05,12,30,11,17,43 and Bonus number 10 , Your INSURANCE Number: FLS433/ 453L /GMSA and consequently you won in the Second Category of the TOYOTA FORTUNE LOTTO DRAW.
You have therefore been approved for the payment of the sum of US$1,000, 000, 00 in cash, including a Toyota carmry 2008 model which is the winning present /amount for the Second category winners. This is from the total prize money of US$40,650,000.00 shared among the international winners in the Second category.
Please be informed that your won fund of the sum of US$1,000,000.00 is now with the payee center. Contact our agent and give them your full names so that they will re-insure your winning fund under your full names. Together with the port where your winning car should be shipped to.
To begin your claim, please call our claim agent or send email immediately to:-
Dr lang wang
Foreign Services Manager,
Toyota Motor Corporations China,
PHONE: +8613640824792 Direct Line
1. Full Name:
7. Country of Residence:
8. Telephone/Fax Number:
NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference and batch numbers and other information provided above and below in every one of your correspondences to your claiming agent.
Congratulations'' once again from all our staff and thank you for being part of our promotions program.
Mr. Peter Willson