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:
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "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 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS WON THE LOTTERY AWARD 2010" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2010 02:47:59 -0800
Subject: Euro Million lottrey award 2010
Euro Million lottrey award 2010
Pol.Lasao, Area Anardi
Ref. N: ESM/WIN/008/05/10/MA
YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS WON THE LOTTERY AWARD 2010 AWARD.
We wish to congratulate you over your email success in our computer Balloting
sweepstake held on February 27th , 2010.
This is a millennium scientific computer game in which email addresses were
used. It is a promotional program aimed to encouraging internet users;
therefore you do not need to buy ticket to enter for it.
Your email address attached to ticket star number (45407) with serial number
51622 drew the EUROMILLION lucky numbers 3-18-40-40-76 which
consequently won the draw in the Second category. You have been approve
star prize of URO 950.000.00 nINE HUNDRED AND FIFTY TAHUSAND EURO
You are advised to keep this winning very confidential until you Receive your
lump prize in your account oroptional cheque issuance to you.
This is a protective measure to avoid double claiming by people you may
we have had cases like this before,
Please send your Full Name, Home and Office Tel & Fax Number, Mobile Tel
Number and your winning ticket number ,reference numbers and amount won
processing of your winning fund to our registered claim agent in address
EL BACO SEGUROSS.A
Dr. Philip Weeks
Address: Avda .Del Petroleo 222 Polig
Be informed that the appointed agent will be required to swear affidavits of
lotto claim also remember, all winning must be claimed not later
than 30th March, 2010. Please note, in order to avoid unnecessary delays and
complications, remember to quote your reference
number and batch number in all correspondence. Furthermore, should there
change of address do inform our agent as soon as possible.
Once again congratulations. Your email address has brought to you this
Mrs. Blanca Fernandez,
Euro Million International.