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:
- 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:
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims 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)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Lotto House <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 01:21:02 -0800 (PST)
Subject: FROM MRS.KEN OBIORAH DESK.
FROM MRS.KEN OBIORAH DESK.
REFERENCE NUMBER IS: AIAM/X99-83X/2009
WE ARE PLEASE TO ANNOUNCE TO YOU AS ONE OF THE 10 LUCKY WINNERS IN THE ASSOCIATION OF INTERNATIONAL AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURERS (AIAM) LOTTO DRAW HELD ON THIS NEW YEAR. ALL 10 WINNING ADDRESSES WERE RANDOMLY SELECTED FROM A BATCH OF 50,000,000 INTERNATIONAL EMAILS. YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS EMERGED ALONGSIDE 9 OTHERS AS A CATEGORY ONE WINNER IN THIS YEAR'S ANNUAL AIAM LOTTO DRAW. CONSEQUENTLY,YOU HAVE THEREFORE BEEN APPROVED FOR A TOTAL PAY OUT OF $2.5 MILLION ( TWO MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND USA DOLLARS) CONGRATULATIONS!!! DUE TO MIX UP OF SOME NUMBERS AND NAMES, WE ASK THAT YOU KEEP YOUR WINNING INFORMATION CONFIDENTIAL UNTIL YOUR CLAIMS HAS BEEN PROCESSED AND YOUR MONEY REMITTED TO YOU.PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL OUR CLAIM AGENT WITH THE BELOW DETAILS FOR PROCESSING OF YOUR CLAIMS:
CLAIMS AGENT: MR. FRANK WILLIAMS.
E-MAIL:( firstname.lastname@example.org )
1. FULL NAME:
2. FULL ADDRESS:
4. REFERENCE NUMBER:
YOUR REFERENCE NUMBER IS: AIAM/X99-83X/2010
PLEASE REMEMBER TO QUOTE THE ABOVE REFERENCE NUMBER WHEN CONTACTING YOUR CLAIM AGENT. WE WISH TO CONGRATULATE YOU OVER YOUR WINNING AS WE PRAY THAT YOU WILL CONTRIBUTE IN MAKING THE WORLD A PEACEFUL PLACE FOR HUMAN RACE.AND ALSO, ALL WINNING MUST BE CLAIM THERE FUND NOT LATER THAN 15 DAYS.AFTER THIS DATE ALL UNCLAIMED FUNDS WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE NEXT STAKE.PLEASE NOTE IN ORDER TO AVOID UNNECESSARYY DELAYS AND COMPLICATIONS PLEASE TO QUOTE YOUR REFERENCE NUMBER AND YOUR BATCH NUMBERS IN ALL CORRESPONDENCE.
MRS. KEN OBIORAH.