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:
- ",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)
- "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)
- 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.
- +447024099646 (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Helen Richardson" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2010 20:05:13 +0200
Subject: CONGRATULATION YOU HAVE WON
Yahoo Awards Center
124 Stockport Road, Longsight, Manchester M60 2DB-UnitedKingdom.
This is to inform you that you have won a prize money of One Million Great Britain Pounds (GBP1,000,000.00) for the month of February 2010 Prize promotion which is organized by YAHOO AWARDS & WINDOWS LIVE.YAHOO collects all the email addresses of the people that are active online, among the millions that subscribed to Yahoo and Hotmail and few from other e-mail providers.
Six people are selected monthly to benefit from this promotion and you are one of the Selected Winners.
PAYMENT OF PRIZE /CLAIMS
Winners shall be paid in accordance with their Settlement
Centers.Yahoo Prize Award must be claimed not later than 30 days from date of Draw Notification. Any prize not claimed within this period will be forfeited and returned to its source as unclaimed.Stated below are your identification numbers:
BATCH NUMBER: MFI/06/APA-43658
REFERENCE NUMBER: 2007234522
You are requested to contact our co-ordinator in Manchester and send your winning identification numbers to him: Co-ordinator's Name: Rev.Phillipe Dalakis E-Mail: email@example.com Call:+44-702 4099646.
You are advised to send the following information to our co-ordinator to facilitate the release of of your fund to you.
Date of Birth/Age.
Yours in service,
Mrs. Helen Richardson