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:
- "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)
- ",500,000" (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.
- +447024064847 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "BANK OF ENGLAND" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2010 13:37:02 -0200
BANK OF ENGLAND PROMOTIONS
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS SECTION
ATM AWARD NOTIFICATION
We are pleased to inform you of the announcement made on MARCH 11, 2010 of winners of
the BANK OF ENGLAND PROMOTIONS.As part of our promotional draws,participants were
selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 2,500,000,000 email addresses of
individuals and companies from all parts of the world as part of our electronic
business Promotions Program
Note that you/your email address qualified for the draw as a result of your visiting
various websites we are running the e-business promotions for You/your company email
address,attached to ticket number 230-365-3071 with serial number 710-43 drew the lucky
numbers 8, 5, 6, 24, 19, 34 and Bonus number 51 and consequently you won in the second
category of the BANK OF ENGLAND LOTTO DRAW.
Your Winning Ticket Number: 230-365-3071
Your Serial Number: 710-43
Your lucky draw Numbers are: 8, 5, 6, 24, 19, 34 Bonus Number 51
Your INSURANCE Number: FLD718/470D/GMSA
You have therefore been approved for the payment of the sum of £485,000 in ATM card,
which is the winning amount for the Second category winners. This is from the total
prize money of £12,450,000.00 shared among the international winners in the Second category.
As you may know, we have arranged your payment through our SWIFT ATM CARD PAYMENT CENTRE
in Europe, America and Asia Pacific.
This card centre will send you an ATM CARD which you will use to withdraw your money in
an ATM MACHINE in any part of the world, but the maximum is £1000 per transaction. Also
be informed that the total amount in the SWIFT ATM CARD is £485,000.00
(1) Your Full Name:
(2) Your Address:
(3) Phone And Fax Number:
(4) Age and Occupation:
(5) Your Nearest International Air Port in your City of residence:
To begin your claim, please contact your claims agent immediately.
Mr Steve Barton
Senior Manager, Payment services
+44 702 406 4847
Bank of England
For security reasons, we advice all winners to keep this information confidential from
the public until your claim is processed and your prize released to you.This is part of
our security protocol to avoid dual claiming and unwarranted taking advantage by
non-participants or unofficial personnel.
NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote
your insurance and ticket numbers and other information provided above and below in
every one of your correspondences with your claims agent.
Congratulations! once again from all our staff and thank you for being part of our
Thanks for your co-operation.
Mrs. Sarah Gates
Senior Remittance Manager
Bank of England