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.
- 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.
- +447045728649 (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 (Hotmail, United Kingdom; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: MICROSOFT NATIONAL AWARD <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2010 11:37:21 -0300
Subject: YOU HAVE WON 750,000 POUNDS
MICROSOFT NATIONAL LOTTERY HEADQUARTERS
P O Box 1010 Liverpool, L70 1NL
UNITED KINGDOM (Customer Services)
PRIZE AWARD WINNER 2010 EDITION,
We are pleased to inform you of the final announcement that you are one of our
first quarter winners of the UNITED KINGDOM NATIONAL LOTTERY,international
The selection was made from the list of over 990,000 e-mail addresses of
individual and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random
search from the internet, no tickets were sold.
After this automated computer ballot, your e-mail address emerged as one of
three winners in the category \"A\" with the following winning informations:
You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of Seven hundred and
fifty thousand pounds sterling.
REF No: L/200-26937
BATCH No: 2007MJL-01
To file for your claim, Contact the processing
Do fill out the claims form to Dr.Prinkett Griffin in other to process the
claims of your prize without delay.
Payment Processing Form:
Mrs. Rose Wood