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:
- ",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)
- "you are advise to" (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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Officer Letter" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 2010 10:26:53 +0200
Subject: Legal Department.
ATTENTION TO THE OWNER OF THIS EMAIL ADDRESS
We are happy to inform you that you have emerged a winner under the First Category of our
promotion program. Winners were picked by computerized system, drawn from over 47,000,000
companies and individuals e-mail addresses worldwide. This draws were officially announced
26th of July, 2010. Your email ID has won a lump sum of 950.580.00 (Nine Hundred and
Fifty Thousand Five Hundred and Eighty euro) only, in the First category G1 of our computer
ballot prize award program.
This compensational program was promoted and sponsored by Dutch National Lottery in the
Netherlands. No ticket was sold in this prize award but winners were randomly selected
from the electronic online world wide web in all over the world. You are advise to claim
your winning under 14 working days. Find below your winning informations: Reference Number:
NPL/602/DX511/21KJ, Batch Number:MZ52/347/BJ9/31NL, Lucky Number: 3-5-9-22-32-43.
Remember to always quote your winning Reference Numbers in all your correspondence.
Please contact the Foreign Financial Office of De Paying Bank for your prize claim:
Dr. Steijn De Bernhard,
Mrs. Sophie Van Buren