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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "22 garden close, stamford" (address often used in fake lottery scams)
- "irish lottery" (can only win this lottery if you bought a ticket)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "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!
Fraud email example:
From: "IRENE WOOD" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 02:33:56 +0530
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS FROM IRISH PROMOTION HOUSE 2010
The Promotion Department IRISH LOTTERY
22 Garden Close, Stamford,
Lincs, PE9 2YP, London United Kingdom.
Congratulations your email just won you our Year 2010 IRISH
INTERNATIONAL ONLINE PROMOTION which is the sum of 700,000.00
British Pounds through a computer email draw with a ticket number
Tv345678U and you are advice to contact our below staff for claims Contact
Mr ROONEY JAMES Email :firstname.lastname@example.org For
Claims, We require you fill this form and return to your claims agent
(1) Data File Number: UK/9420X2/68
(2) Ref.Code :0087955827499
(3) Grant Number:I.R.P /0080648302/07
Phone Number (Home)
Scanned Copy Of Identity
Mrs IRENE WOOD