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:
- "claims office" (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)
- 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.
- +447024079814 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Robert Johnson" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2010 15:38:15 -0700
Subject: MICROSOFT EMAIL LOTTERY AWARD PROMOTION 2010
FROM MICROSOFT MEGA JACKPOT 2010
REF NO: MSW/56B-672GH/L
MICROSOFT EMAIL LOTTERY AWARD PROMOTION: UNITED KINGDOM Finally today, announces the winners of the MICROSOFT MEGA JACKPOT LOTTO WINNINGS PROGRAMS held early this month 2010.
Your company or your personal e-mail address, attached to winning number 23-76-06-54-42-100, with serial number 647489, consequently won in the Tenth lottery category.
You have been approved for lump sums pay out of 850,000.00 (Eight hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterlings) in cash Credited to file REF NO: MSW/56B-672GH/L and winning number 23-76-06-54-42-100.Selection process was carried out through
random selection in our computerized email selection machine (TOPAZ) from a database of over 1,000,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world.
The online draws was conducted by a random selection of email addresses from an exclusive list of 29,031 E-mail addresses of individuals and corporate bodies picked by an
advanced automated random computer search from the internet.
No ticket was sold but all email addresses were assigned to different ticket numbers for representation and privacy.This
is to encourage our prominent Microsoft Internet Explorer users all over the world, and for the Continues use of E-mail.
Your fund has been insured with your REF NO:MSW/56B-672GH/L and winning number 23-76-06-54-42-100. To claim your winning
prize, you are to reply to this letter In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference and winning numbers in all correspondences with your claims officer. You are to keep all lotto information away from the general public
especially your ticket number and ballot number.(This is important as a case of double claims will not be entertained)
PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU ARE TO SEND THE BELOW INFORMATION REQUIRED TO CLAIM YOUR WINNING PRIZE:
1. Full Name:
4. Age/Date of Birth:
6. Your Office; Telephone and fax. Phone:
7. Mobile Telephone
8. State of Origin: Country:
Upon the receipt of this mail kindly send the required information immediately for more directives and call me as soon as you receive this mail: Tel: +447024079814 or
Mr. Robert Johnson