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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "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)
- "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: Online Cordinator <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2010 17:09:04 +0100
Subject: Reference #: SANL/74H14508/96D/01
Reference #: SANL/74H14508/96D/01
This is an e-mail notification to inform you that your e-mail address has won you a cash prize of $950,000.00 United States Dollars on our online FreeLotto sweepstakes promo draws held on 1st of February 2010 in Madrid-Spain. This promotion begins on February 1, 2010 and ends on December 31, 2011
The mechanics of selection of the winners: Each email ID selected entry results in the addition of a unique user email ID to a table, which is ascribed a random number of email ID between 1 and 1,000,000 using a computerized uniformly distributed random email generator which automatically matches the unique user email ID to the randomly-ascribed email.
Your e-mail address attached to Code number:370011672387-290-02 with Claim number: 12093782/42 drew the lucky Numbers: 894-4563-001-764-64-2911, and a bonus number of 04 which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category for a payout of 950,000.00 USD.
ELIGIBILITY: You must be at least 18 years or older. This promotion is void in Europe N. America. Africa. Asia S. America. Australia/Oceania.
To file for claim, do contact our claims agent via e-mail as given below for due processing and remittance of your prize money.
Agent: Dr. Garcia Paul
Tel/Fax: +34 6728 45 908
Claims processing may take a period between 24hrs - 72 hrs. Congratulations once more from all members and staffs of this program. Thank you for being a part of our online FreeLotto promotion.
Prof. George Herbert