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:
- 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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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!
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- +447031949587 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: "sales" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2010 00:58:31 +0800
Subject: Unclaimed Winnings:
In regards to the above subject, I, Barrister Barry White, Claims Supervisor for the
United Kingdom Lottery Board (UKLB) wish to notify you through this e-mail that your
case file has been re-opened.
You were selected as a winner in the UK INTERNATIONAL SWEEP STAKE, held on January
2008, but you never claimed the winnings due to reasons best known to you. With
direction from the New Regional Director of this great Lottery Organization, Your case
file has been re-opened to give you an opportunity to claim your winnings amounting to
Â£350,000 (Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds) which was won by 04-18-22-27-44-48
33(BONUS) - Numbers from your email entry ticket.
Please Contact this office for further directives on how you can claim
INTERNATIONAL REMITTANCE DESK
Claims Officer:Barrister Barry White
You are assured that you will get your winnings via swift wire transfer from the United
Kingdoms to your bank account in your country.
Hope to read from you as soon as possible.