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:
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- 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: "Powerball Promos" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2010 14:02:42 +0300 (EEST)
Subject: Attn: Prize Winner
Attn: Prize Winner,
We wish to notify you that you were listed as a beneficiary in the
Powerball EMAIL DRAW held on 13th of April 2010.To claim your
prize(£520,000.00), you must first contact the claims department by email
or phone for processing and remittance of your prize to you. Find below
the claims officer contact details:
Mr. Richard Ken
NOTE: In your acceptance of this award, we request that you kindly forward
your letter of acceptance; your current telephone and fax numbers, Full
Names and a forwarding address to enable us file necessary documents with
the gaming board for the release of this sum of money.
Also you are to indicate "X" for the option you want your prize remitted
(1) By Courier Delivery Of Your Prize: ... [.....]
(2) Bank Payment Transfer|Online Account Transfer........ [.....]
Kate Henshaw (Mrs.)