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:
- 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.
- 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: "INFO PRIZE DETAILS" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2010 01:39:35 +0100
Subject: Netherland Lucky Day
Netherland Lucky Day
We are delighted to inform you of our Lucky days lotto prize award held on
the 16th of January 2010,in Netherlands. This lotto awards is fully based on
an electronic selection, Winners were picked by computerized system, drawn
from over 43,000,00 companies and individuals e-mail addresses worldwide.
This award is officially announced 19th of Fabuary 2010, Your email ID has
hereby been approved a lump sum pay out of 1,319,000 Euro in cash credit
file Ref: GNP501/731KW, Batch: BGS22/14FC, Winning No: DHN32/31NL
Simply contact Our Foreign Financial Office of De Vsb Security Netherland for
your prize claim immediately.
Mr. Rob Van Dirk.
Tel +31-68 4-874-123,
Congratulations!! once again.
Yours in service,
Mrs. Cartrina Zeynep