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)
- "you are advise to" (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- +447045747929 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +448704796992 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "JRF CUSTOMER SERVICE" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 2010 15:53:11 -0700
Subject: RE: JRF GLOBAL APPROVED PAYMENT
JRF GLOBAL LOTTERY AGENT
Ref. Number: 132/756/4509
Batch Number: 538901527-BC68
Ticket Number: 23265896-6453
JRF are honoured to inform you that you are the Lucky approved Winner in
our first ever global Free Online Lottery Program held on the 29th of October,
2010. Your e-mail address attached to TN: 23265896-6453 with serial number
SN: 37726-5545 drew lucky numbers LN: 7-14-18-31-45 Win which consequently
won in the 2ND category, you have therefore been approved for a lump sum
pay out of £950,000 (Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds Sterling GBP ).
Note, all participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn
from over 20,000 company and 30,000 individual email addresses and names
from all over the world. This lottery was promoted and sponsored by GUESS
GLOBAL LOTTERY AGENT. Please you are advise to file for your claim through
our fiducial agent:
FULL NAME: MR. LESLAW BIDZINSKI
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
TEL:+44 70457 47929/+44 70457 69539 FAX:+44 870 479 6992
Remember all winning must be claimed not later than 25th of November 2010.
Please remember to quote your reference number and batch numbers in all
correspondence. Should there be any change of address do inform our agent
ASAP. Note: Anybody under the age of 18 is automatically disqualified.
MR PATRICK POWELL
GUESS GLOBAL LOTTERY AGENT (CO-ORDINATOR)