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 phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Alicia Jones" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2010 15:30:39 -0700
Subject: Prominent User Of The Internet
Dear Prominent User Of The Internet
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? We hope this mail meets you in a perfect condition. This is from a total cash prize of US 500,000.00 dollars, given to the first FIFTY (50) people who will be compensated in this world internet programs.
All participants were selected randomly from World Wide Web site through computer draw system and extracted from over 700.000 companies. We are using this opportunity to thank you for using the internet daily.
Due to your effort, using internet programs indoor and in your office, We want to compensate you and show our gratitude to you with the sum of $500,000.00 Thousand United States Dollars we have authorized Mr. Scott Williams to assist you in getting your compensation prize across to you.
The name and contact of Mr. Scott Williams is as follows;
Compensation Head Office.
Contact Agent: Mr. Scott Williams
TEL: +234 80-286-42146
Finally remember that we have forwarded instruction to the Mr. Scott Williams on your behalf to send the cash prize of Five hundred thousand United States Dollars to you as soon as you contact him without delay.
Thanks and God bless you and your family.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Mrs. Alicia Jones
International Online Lottery Co-ordinator.