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:
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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: "Netherlands Staatsloterij Draws" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 14:12:45 +0100
Subject: Reference Number:NSL 91104 EL 7612
Staatsloterij Internationalen Kommission
We are pleased to inform you of results of our cyber lottery draw of
the Niederlande Staatsloterij Promotional Draws sponsored by
consortium of software manufacturing companies.
The online electronic-raffle draws was conducted from an exclusive
list of 250,000 international emails accounts picked by our Electronic
Random Selection System (ERSS) from an exclusive list However, no
tickets were sold.
After the automated computer ballot collection, your e-mail address
emerged as a winner category "A" with the following numbers attached:
(i) Reference Number:NSL 91104 EL 7612
(ii) Batch Number: 563881545-NL/2010
(iii)Ticket Number: GB 3502 /8707-01
You are therefore to receive a cash prize of 2,500,000.00. (Two
Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) from the total
The payout of this cash prize to you will be subject to the final
validations and satisfactory report that you are the owner of the
winning email address. In line with the Governing rules of claim, you
are required to establish contact with your designated claims agent
via email or telephone with the particulars below:
Darren Smith jr
Foreign claims agent Netherlands Office.
Contact Email: email@example.com
TEL: +31 617 205 556
FAX: +31 847 455 835
You are advised to provide him with the following information:
We ask that you keep your Winning information confidential until your
claims have been processed. This is part of our security protocol to
avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some
Endeavour to include your email address when sending a fax for
verification purpose. Furthermore, should there be any change of
address do inform our agent as soon as possible. Congratulations!!!
And thank you for being a user of the World Wide Web.
Don Van Dendoff
Copyright © 2010. The Nederlandse Staatsloterij Inc