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.
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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:
- "2010 promotional draw" (no such lottery exists)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- ",000,000" (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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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!
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2010 21:27:15 -0400
Subject: Your E-mail Has Won 485,910.00 Euros
Attention Email ID User,
We happily announce to you the draw of the Loteria Nacional Special Global 2010 Promotional Draw held in Madrid Spain.Your e-mail address attached to REF No;ESP/62934LN/2010, with Batch No: CH 200 drew the Winning No: 02 10 16 18 27 41, Bonus No: 28 for LN-49 Lotto under the choice of the lottery in the 1st category.
All participants were selected randomly from World Wide Web site through computer draws system and extracted from over 10,000,000 companies and personal e-mails. So your email is your online automatic ticket that qualified you for this draw. You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of 485,910.00 Euros (Four Hundred and Eighty Five Thousand Nine Hundred and Ten Euros)
Therefore, you are required to forward your details to our claims department/Finance/Legal office to help facilitate the processing of your fund as stated below:
1. FULL NAMES: ________
2. ADDRESS: __________
3. AGE AND SEX: ________
4. MARITAL STATUS: _____
5. OCCUPATION: ________
6. E-MAIL ADDRESS: ______
7. TELEPHONE NUMBER: ________
8. AMOUNT WON:________
Contact Person: Barrister.Luis Capiel
Tel: +34 672 860 220
Sandra Luque (Mrs.)
Lottery Controller General