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 phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- ",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)
- "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)
- "email@example.com" (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!
- 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.
- +447024073916 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +447035906971 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Info" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 04:00:58 -0500
Subject: PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND CLAIM
United Nation Humanitarian Awards Center
United Nations Development Program.
Switzerland Department of Humanitarian Affairs
Palais des Nations CH-1211 Geneva 10
::: YEAR 2010 EMAIL PRIZE AWARDS:
This is to inform you that you have won a prize money of One Million Great Britain
Pounds (1,000,000.00 GBP) of this 2010 Prize Promotion which is Organized by United
Nations Humanitarian Office/World Bank this is to reduce poverty and assist on the
ongoing Financial Crisis around the world.
United Nations Organization draws was conducted from an exclusive list of 47,000,000 e-
mail addresses of individual and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated
random computer ballot search from the internet as part of our international promotions
program which was conducted this year. No tickets were sold. After this automated
computer ballot, your e-mail address attached to serial number 06-3434 drew the lucky
numbers PIN:UN09788 which consequently emerged you as one of the lucky winners in this
PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND CLAIM
Winners shall be paid in accordance with his/her Settlement Center. United Nations
Humanitarian Office. Award must be claimed no later than 15 days from date of Draw
Notification. Any prize not claimed within this period will be forfeited.Stated below
are your identification numbers:
BATCH NUMBER: UN 09102XN
REFERENCE NUMBER: UN35447XN
These numbers fall within the England Location file, you are requested to contact our
fiduciary agent in Liverpool and send your winning identification numbers to him;
Information and Payment Bureau:
London Representative Office.
Payment Officer:Mr.Jefferson Harold
You are advised to send the following information to your Claims Agent to facilitate
the release your fund to you and also a passport photograph for the processing of your
winning certificate and other related document.
My Date of birth......................
We know you must be excited and very happy about this news you have just received from
us and the truth is that we are doing this to put Smiles into homes and hearts of
Congratulations!! Once again.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon
(UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL.).