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")
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "u.k " (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- +447024069933 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Michael Dowd" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2010 16:07:10 +0300
Subject: Email Lottery Winner's (2010)
UK Microsoft Jackpot Lottery Notification
This is to inform you that you have won a prize money of
Eight hundred and fifty thousand, Great British Pound
Sterlings (£850,000.00) for the month of January 2010
Lottery promotion which is organized by U.K MICROSOFT
You are to contact the claims agent for remittance.
Name: Mr.Hatchwell Murphy
Contact Phone: +44702 406 9933
The selection process was carried out through random sampling
in our computerized email selection machine (TOPAZ) from a
datebase of email addresses draw fron all continents
of the world
These are your identification numbers:
You are advice to fill and submit this form below to the
claims agent for verification and direction on how you
can claim your winning fund.
8.MOBILE TEL:____9.STATE OF ORIGIN:___COUNTRY:__
10.YOUR FILE REF NO:_________________________
On behalf of the UK MICROSOFT I congratulate you once again!
LOTTERY SPONSOR Microsoft
This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.