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:
- 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:
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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 (Bol, Brazil; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Hillary Miguel" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2010 20:59:26 +0200
Subject: Copy of Your cheque attached
This is to notify you that this e-mail address was automatically generated during the FIFA World Cup 2010 draw Friday 4 December 2009 17.40 GMT in Capetown South Africa for Asia, Antarctica, Africa, Europe, Australia and Oceania, North and South America selection Draw and has won the Cheque of $2,220,000.00 (Two Million Two Hundred And Twenty thousand dollars only). This is a Scientific Computer Game in which your Email Address was used. It is a Promotional Program by FIFA ONLINE PROMOTION and is hosted by FIFA for the upcoming World cup soccer games in South Africa.
kindly send us the requested details below and forward them to Dr. Mogale for immediate process of your claim; Remember to quote the ref and batch below for verification by the company. The cheque will be send to within 72hrs after confirming your winning details. The copy of the Cheque is attached.
you should include Your
Direct Mobile Number:
Dr Steven Sello Mogale (Claim Director)
Tel:27 83 963 9609
Fax:27 86 648 1795
Payment Process Centre
Mrs H. Miguel
FIFA Johannesburg Coordinator