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:
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "million pounds" (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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "u.k " (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- +447031907688 (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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Patricia Angello." <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 29 May 2010 16:41:30 +0200
Volkswagen MOTORS WORLDWIDE LTD.
Internet User Encouragement Promotions
P.O. Box 999
We are officially announcing to you the result of VW Motors Email Lottery
Promotion held on the 18Th May 2010 as part of our programs to
Launch our multi million dollar office that was commissioned on 19th of
Febuary 2010 in Manchester United Kingdom. Your email was attached to
ticket number VJETTA-UK-VP990003-M4GA with draw number P93VWJ which
consequently won you in the 2nd category prize, your email address was
extracted from our electronic email extraction system which randomly
selected Fifthteen (15) Lucky Winners of which your email address was
among one of the lucky winner. You have therefore been approved for a
payout of a total sum £1,050,000 GBP (ONE MILLION & FIFTY THOUSAND BRITISH
We also advise that you keep your winning information very confidential as
our security policy demands to avoid double claims/impersonation and
unwarranted abuse of this program by some individuals. The selection
process was carried our through our computerized Email Selection System
(ESS) which selects email from a database of over 600,000 email address
was drawn from all over the continents of the World. This promotions being
the first of its kind will now take place annually and we hope you will
also take part in our next year One Million Pounds Pound Sterling
International Lottery Game.
To file your claim, you are to contact our Customer Service Unit
authorized to conduct the necessary Verification to enable you receive
your Cash Prize.(You will receive more email upon acknowledgement of this
Customer Service Unit
Mr. Eddie Goodman.
20 Queens land Road, London
SW2 3JB ENGLAND. U.K
You are to call your claims agent assigned for your claims, or send an
email to them, you are to provide to your agents the below under listed
information as soon as possible:
1. NAME IN FULL:
2. ADDRESS (IN FULL):
6. OCCUPATION (POSITION HELD):
7. HOME PHONE & MOBILE NUMBER:
This program is promoted and sponsored by Microsoft,Emirates Airline and
the Shell Group and we intend to use this medium to help individuals
generate fortunes, which would encourage them to expand their business
frontiers thereby creating more opportunities and assisting with
humanitarian Concerns within their immediate environment. All winning must
be claimed not later than one Week of Acknowledgment. After this date all
unclaimed funds will be returned to VW Motors Treasury as Unclaimed.
Yours in service,
Mrs. Patricia Angello.
(Programs & Events).
Material Copyright © 2010 The VW Co. Ltd.