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:
- ",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)
- 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.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: =?iso-8859-1?Q?=AE_2010_Donation?= <email@example.com> (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 11:31:05 +0600 (BDT)
Subject: Batch NO: 014/2010
2010 FREE LOTTERY DONATION,
Winning NO: 2010/01/NIG
Batch NO: 014/2010
Dear Lucky Winner,
We happily announce to you that Your e-mail address
have been Chosen by The 2010 FREE LOTTERY DONATION
on the 12th January 2010, To Ticket No.:ATM-647-5451
which is held once in every four years interval, And
is also organized to encourage the use of internet and computers.
We are proud to say that you have therefore been
approved to claim The ATM Card Donation of US$4,000,000
Dollars in cash. The lottery 2010 is proudly
sponsored by the Microsoft Corporation, Coca Cola,
MTN, Toyota, Toshiba.
For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information
confidential until you claim your prize money.This is part of our
precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse
of this program. Please be warned.
Fill out below information Via the below E-mail:
Mr. James Philip
Tel No.: +234-808-303-2552
How Do You Feel As A Winner:
This message has been scanned for viruses and
dangerous content by PHQ MailScanner, and is
believed to be clean.