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:
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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 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: "Heineken Lottery Promotion 2010" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 2 May 2010 11:53:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Congratulations!! US $600,
000.00 offer for you from "Heineken International Inc"
HEINEKEN BOTTLING COMPANY
ANTHONIE VAN DIJCKERWEG
HEINEKEN COMPANY SEASONAL
We are delighted to inform you the
of the annual final draws of Heineken Annual
The online Heineken Annual
draws was conducted by a random selection of E-mail
from an exclusive list of 29,031 E-mail
of individuals and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random
computer (TOPAZ) search from the internet. However, no ticket was sold for
draw but all E-mail
were assigned to different ticket numbers for representation and
automated computer ballot, your E-mail
address emerged as one of the Eight (8) lucky winners in the fourth
category for the second prize with the following
Ref Number: ASL/941OYI/02/SHYN
Ticket Number: 025-11464992-750
You as well as
the other winners, are therefore to receive a cash prize of Six Hundred
$600.000.00USD for the total payout.
Your prize award has been
with your E-mail
and will be transferred to you upon meeting the requirements, statutory
obligations, verifications, validations and satisfactory report. Please note
that your lucky winning number falls within our
in Amsterdam, Holland, as indicated in your play coupon and your prize of
US$600,000.00 will be released to you from your regional branch
You are required to fill and
Submit the below
information to the Processing management via
is mandatory that you quote your Reference,Batch and Ticket numbers
trace of your file in our computer system.
Please you are
complete the form and send it immediately to our Processing management via
e-mail for prompt
collection of your fund.
Overseas Claims/Africa Payment
your claim agent: Reverend Peter Smith
submit your information to the authorized Paying Bank: First bank Plc
The person to contact you: ALEX C OTTI ,Managing
For security reasons, we advise all
to keep this information confidential from the public until your claim is
processed and your prize released to you.
This is part of our security
protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted taking advantage of this
program by non-participant or unofficial personnel.
winnings MUST be
claimed before the end of this programme; otherwise all funds will be
Thank you and Accept our