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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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)
- 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.
- +447031816327 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +447092867498 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Vodafone Online Promo" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2010 22:35:58 +0000
VODAFONE ONLINE PROMO UK
In Conjunction with The National Organizing
Committe of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
FIFA Fussball-Weltmeisterschaft 2010
organisation committee -London,Uk
United Kingdom 23,80539 .
Please be informed that all participants in this Vodafone promotion program have been selected randomly through a
computer ballot system drawn from over 50 companies and 10 individual e-mail addresses.This Vodafone promotion is
Organized by the host country in collaboration with FIFA. Funds for the draws have been contributed by the major sponsors
of the games which include Adidas,Hyundai,Fuji-film,Master-card,Gillette,Coca-cola,Emirates Air,
Continental,Toshiba,McDonald and a host of others. Due to the computer mix up of some numbers and email contacts, we ask
that you keep this award strictly from public notice until your claim has been processed and your
This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by participants of this program. Also
find all other relevant Vodafone promotion Information below:Ref No: FL/668530092 Batch No:45301/14/FIFA06/FL Zonal Draw
No: IMSA2-040Grand Draw No: 14219 You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of Three Hundred Thousand
United States Dollars ($US 300.000.00 USD) in cash credited to file No:LP/26510460037/02. For due Processing and
remittance of your prize money,remember that you must contact your claim Agent NOT later than TWO weeks from notice.After
this date, all funds will be returned as unclaimed.
NOTE:In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to Quote your reference and batch numbers in
every one of your correspondences.Furthermore, should there be any change of your address, do inform your claims agent as
soon as possible. Congratulations again from all our staff and thank you for being part of our Promotions program.
Miss Gloria Kao
To file for your claim, please contact our Payment Officer
Prof. Charles Brown
VODAFONE ONLINE PROMO UK
5 Brougham St, Edinburgh, EH3 9JS.
TELLINE 1: +44-703-181-6327