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:
- 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")
- "hundred thousand us 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)
- 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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- mr.dr arthur williams tel:+234-803-923-6013 e mail: email@example.com e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for identification and (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "GLOBAL AWARD PROMOTION" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2010 17:01:37 -0800
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS YOU HAVE WON
Dear Internet User.
We are happy to inform you that you have Won $500,00000(Five Hundred Thousand Us Dollars Only) for the month of December 2009 Lottery Win promotion which is organized by ONLINE LOTTERY every month.
ONLINE LOTTERY, collects all the e mail identity of the people online and among the millions that log on to the internet we only select twenty five people every Month as our winners through electronic balloting System without the winner applying, we are congratulating you for having been one of the people selected.
PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND CLAIM
You are to contact your Claims Agent on or before your date of Claim, Winners Shall be paid in accordance with his/her Settlement Center. ONLINE LOTTERY Prize must be claimed no later than 12 days from date of Draw Notification after the Draw date in which Prize has won. Any prize not claimed within this period will be forfeited.
These are your identification
REF NO: GW/5838610584/09
BATCH NO: GW/48670515/9
SERIAL No: 57306-09
LUCKY NO :90-44-88-22-09
These numbers are your winning identification numbers,that you will send it to your claims agent,
Claim Agent Details Below;
MR.Dr Arthur Williams
E mail: email@example.com
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
for identification and further instructions.
You are therefore advise to also send the following information to the Claims Agent to facilitate them and process the transfer of your fund.
6.Date of Birth
Congratulations!! Once more.
MR.Martin Thompson (Award co-ordinator)