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 agent" (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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (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.
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "=?iso-8859-1?B?TXMuIEFtZWxpZSBIb2dhcnRoIChTLkwuTik=?=" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2010 23:55:09 +0200
Subject: 2010 Scandinavian Notification
7903 AA, Hoogeveen, Netherlands.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU HAVE WON 750,000 EURO
You have been awarded 750,000 Euro in the SCANDINAVIAN -LOTTO Satellite Software email lottery in which e-mail addresses are picked randomly by Software powered by the Internet through the worldwide website.
Your email address was amongst those chosen this year for the SCANDINAVIAN-LOTTO Satellite lottery. And this promotion is proudly sponsored by the SCANDINAVIAN -LOTTO NETHERLANDS organization.
Your email address, attached to Ref number 18, 43, 5, 7, 14, 17 with Serial number 2378-32 drew the lucky Numbers 56, and consequently won the lottery in the "A" Category. You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of 750,000 Euro.
Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our European Booklet representative office in Europe as indicated in your play coupon. In View of this, your 750,000 Euro will be released to you by our accredited claims agent located in Europe. Our European agent will immediately commence the process to facilitate the release of your winning funds as soon as you contact them.
All participants were selected randomly from World Wide Web site through computer draw System and extracted from over 800,000,000 companies and individual email addresses. This promotion takes place annually. For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning details confidential till your claims is processed and your winning prize remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize. This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some unscrupulous elements.
To file for your claim, please contact our/your claims agent:
Mr. Van Snyder
Provide our/your claims agent with the information as stated below:
5. Marital Status:
7. Country of Residence:
9. Telephone Number:
10. Fax Number:
11. Draw Number above:
These details facilitate the due process and the release of winnings to avoid unnecessary delays and complications in the processing of your winnings. Always remember to quote your Reference/serial number in any correspondences with us or our/your designated claims agent.
Congratulations again from all our staff and thank you for being part of our promotions program. Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the winners will result to disqualification.
Ms. Amelie Hogarth
7903 AA, Hoogeveen, Netherlands.
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