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:
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claims director" (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)
- 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 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: "Mrs.Sherrell Barber" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2010 09:13:31 -0000
Subject: ATTENTION:CONFIRM YOUR WINNER EMAIL ADDRESS
FROM: THE DESK OF THE CLAIMS DIRECTOR,
YAHOO MSN LIVE INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS / PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT,
REF: YAHOO 6/315116127/27
Registered Lottery No 220949
(Thanks for contributing to our Financial Success)
ATTENTION: Email LUCKY Account Owner
We are pleased to inform you that your e-mail address has won the UK
Sweepstakes International Programme.Therefore you have been approve
for a lump sum payout (£1,000,000 Pounds) in the Uk Sweepstakes
International Program held on 12th March and release 20th March 2010.
Your e-mail ID emerged as one of the winners in the 1st category.
Please fill the form below and send it to our payment department with the
contact given below.
NAME: MR. WEST NEWTON
To View Some Of Our Past Lucky Winner Click:
PAYMENT PROCESSING FORM
1 Full Name:
2 Full Address:
5 Phone Number:
Mrs.Sherrell Barber (Zonal Coordinator)
YAHOO MSN PROMOTIONS