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 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)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Loteria Nacional" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2010 09:54:38 +0200
Subject: Your email has won 985,950.00 Euro
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
985,950.00 Euros (nine hundred and eighty five thousand nine hundred and fifty euros)
In view of this, your total fund (nine hundred and eighty five thousand nine hundred and fifty euros) would be
released to you by following the directives of our Madrid payment officer.
He will immediately commence the processing of your payment to facilitate the
release of your funds as soon as you contact him. Therefore, you are required to
forward the following details to him to help facilitate the processing of your
CONTACT PERSON: Dr. Henry Pinto
TEL: +34 645 071 275