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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "overseas subscribers agents" (can only win this lottery if you bought a ticket)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- 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.
- +447024056974 (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.
- email@example.com (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "OSA" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2010 04:33:35 +0100
Subject: Your Won Award!
FROM THE DESK OF MRS JOSEPHINE MARTINS
101 Wigmore Street,
London W1U 1QU
>From the Overseas Subscribers Agents(OSA), in assistance with the International Lottery Board of Commissions, We happily announce to you that you have won award of $370,000 at the London Payment Center!!!
TICKET NUMBER: 23-04-31-77-GH
SERIAL NUMBERS: 266-194-19
Your e-mail address above attached to ticket number: 23-04-31-77-GH drew the lucky numbers: 65 32 09 12 00 36 43, which subsequently won you the lottery in Category 2D. Therefore you must contact the Claiming Agent Manager,
MR. JIM PARSON
He will need to confirm everything we have on file to ensure that, there will be no set backs upon the release of these funds to you. I want you to know that verification and confirmation of all of your payment documents have been sent to our affiliate company, (The International Lottery Board of Commissions) from our processing office. Also note that your winnings information will be verify by our processing-coordinators who has been evaluated by our legal department. This will leave you the true beneficiary of the won award under the (OSA), and zoned under the London Tax Revenue office.
Due to a mix up of some email addresses, we ask that you keep this award from public notice until your claim has been fully processed , as this is a part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unwarranted abuse of this program by participants.
Congratulations once more from all members and staff of this program and thank you for being part of our promotional lottery program!!! Note: Do not reply to this email! Contact your claiming agent above.
MRS JOSEPHINE MARTINS
Overseas Subscribers Agents(OSA).
NOTE: PLEASE KEEP THIS NOTICE IN YOUR PERSONAL FILES, FOR FURTHER CORRESPONDENCE.