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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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)
- ",500,000" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Thomas Anthony" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2010 17:10:56 +0200
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS TO THE OWNER OF THIS EMAIL ADDRESS!!!
FROM THE DESK OF THE DIRECTOR INTERNATIONAL PRIZE AWARD DEPT
Ref Number:NL 52 4355 622
Batch Number:366 446 275-NL/2010
Amount Won: 2, 500, 000.00. USD
OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION FOR CATEGORY "A" CYBER LOTTO DRAWS
Dear Internet User
We are pleased to inform you of the results of our cyber lotto draw of Lottery NL Promotional Draws. The online electronic-raffle draws was conducted from an exclusive list of 250,000 e-mail accounts picked by our Electronic Random Selection System (ERSS) from an exclusive list However, no tickets were sold.
After the automated computer ballot collection, your e-mail address emerged as a winner category "A" with the following numbers attached
(Ref Number: NL 52 4355 622, Batch Number: 366 446 275-NL/2010.
You are therefore to receive a cash prize of 2,500,000.00.USD (Two Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) from the total payout sum! CONGRATULATIONS!!!
The payout of this cash prize to you will be subject to the final validations and satisfactory report that you are the owner of the winning email address.Your prize award has been insured with your e-mail address and will be transferred to you upon meeting our requirements,
For statutory obligations, verifications, validations and satisfactory report.To file in for the claims of your winning cashprize, you are advised to contact our Certified and Accredited claims agent for category "A" winners with the information below:
FOREIGN CLAIMS AGENT
Name: David Williams
Tel :+31 617 563 803
You are advised to provide him with the following information:
You are to keep all lotto information confidential, especially your reference numbers and the password of your E-mail address. Since we do not Know you, if an impostor hacks your E-mail account ID and claims your money without our knowledge, we shall not be hold liable. Double claims will not be Entertained, so be careful.
Furthermore, should there be any change of address do inform our agent as soon as possible. Congratulations!!! And thank you for being a user of the World Wide Web.
ONLINE LOTTERY CO-ORDINATOR.