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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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 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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "PEARLE SETE" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 11 May 2010 18:40:35 +0200
Subject: DONT DELAY YOUR CLAIM
NOTICE OF AWARD (PRIZE WINNING).
we are pleased to inform you of the announcement that you are a winner of the NATIONAL LOTTERY S. A. INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMMES.
Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 2,500,000 email addresses of individuals and companies from all over the world.
You EMAIL ID have qualified you for the draw as a result of you unknowingly visiting various websites that we are running the e-business promotions for.
The primary objective of this programmer is to project South Africa in the international world in view of encouraging a good number of people coming into South Africa against the FIFA 2010 soccer world cup that is to be hosted in South Africa. This encouraging investment.
You/Your Company, is attached to ticket number 100-309-7482, with serial number 513-10 drew the lucky numbers 9 20 30 42 46 48, and consequently won in the Second Category.
You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of US$5,500,000.00 in cash, which is the winning payout for category A winners. This is from the total prize money of S$38,500,000.00 shared among the Seven international winners in the category A.
Your fund is now deposited with our paying Bank insured in your name. Due to the mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award strictly from public notice until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your account.
This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by participants of this program.
We hope with a part of your prize, you will participate in our next high stakes of US$1.3 billion International Lottery.
To begin your claim, please contact.
Dr. Benedict Khumalo (CLAIM AGENT / VERIFICATION OFFICER)
70 Marshall Street Johannesburg.
TEL: +27 72 1944104
with your FULL NAMES, IDENTIFICATION, NATIONALITY, DATE OR BIRTH, OCCUPATION and TELEPHON / FAX NUMBERS for due processing and remittance of your prize money to you.
NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference and batch numbers provided below in every one of your correspondence: REFERENCE NUMBER: PF23-711W-9. BATCH NUMBER: 46-184-WAN
Congratulations once again from all our staff and thank you for being part of our promotions program.
Mrs. Pearle Sete (Co-ordinator)
N.B any breach of confidentiality on the part of the winners will result to disqualification. Please do not reply to this mail box. Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org