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:
- "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 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "UK Lottery Organization" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2010 09:32:36 +1000
Subject: Congratulations you are a winner today
If you are the correct owner of this email address then be glad this day as the result of the UK lotto online e-mail address free-ticket winning draws of 14th April 2010 held in Bangkok-Thailand has just been released and we are glad to announce to you that your email address won you the sweepstakes in the first category and you are entitled to claim the sum of US$4.6 Million.
Your email address was entered for the online draw on this ticket #: GDJDKEWIOE9 and won on this Lucky #: MSVG363728HS4 You are to contact Mr. Charles Howard on the below email address for quick delivery of your won cheque of US$4.6M. Know that all winners cheque are certified cashiers and when delivered and received by you, you can cash it in any bank of any country. To enable Mr. Charles Howard ascertain you as the rightful winner and receiver of the $4.6Million cheque, MAKE SURE you include the below listed information in your contact mail to him.
Your country of origin and country of residence/work, complete official names, amount won, free ticket and lucky numbers, date of draw, address where your wish to receive your winnings cheque, contact telephone and mobile numbers. OPTIONAL :- [Sex, age, occupation and job title].
Mr. Charles Howard
Just in case you are thinking of how you won without entering then know again that this very draw of the UK Lottery Organization in which you have emerged as a winner was a free ticket online email address draws where thousands of email addresses was collected from almost all world wide websites and used for the online draws/sweepstakes and during winners selection your email address came out among the first ten which won you the lottery in the first winnings category and entitles you to claim the cheque of $4,600,000.
From: UK Lottery Organization
TICKET FREE/ONLINE E-MAIL ADDRESS WINNINGS DEPARTMENT.