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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- ",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)
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "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.
Fraud email example:
From: "FreeLotto.NL" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2010 23:52:20 +0100
Subject: Re: End of Year.
Winning numbers: FLC/7077.
Compliments of the season. We proudly bring to your notice, the results of our online draws of the FREELOTTO PROMOTIONS. You have been selected as the second category winner in our online draws done via computer ballot system, there were no tickets purchased. Your email address was selected from the world wide web and was attached to your winning numbers FLC/7077.
You have been awarded a lump sum pay out of 1,000,000.00eur (One million euros only), which is the winning payout for 2nd category winner in the online draws.
In your best interest, we request that you keep the entire details of your award strictly from public notice until the process of transferring your claims has been completed, and your funds transferred to you. This is to protect winners and to avoid misappropriation of funds.
In pursuant to your prize collection, kindly complete the form below and send by fax or email to the the processing officer below for due processing and transfer of your prize money.
Contact Person: Mr. Thadeus Ackman.
Foreign Operations Manager,
(1) NAME OF BENEFICIARY:_________________________________________________________________
(3) EMAIL ADDRESS:_______________________________________________________________________
(8) COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE:________________________________________________________________
I WANT TO BE PAID BY: a / BANK TRANSFER. b/ PERSONAL COLLECTION. c/ CHEQUE
BENEFICIARYS BANK DETAILS
We do not need your banking details if you prefer options B and C. Send your details by fax if you find it difficult sending an email.