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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "uk national lottery" (can only win this lottery if you bought a ticket)
- 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)
- "email@example.com" (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.
- +447024073465 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr Jonathan Gibbs" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2010 23:25:12 -0800
Subject: 2010 Winners Final Notification!!!
UK NATIONAL LOTTERY.
GOVERNMENT ACCREDITED LICENSED LOTTERY.
REGISTERED UNDER THE UNITED KINGDOM DATA
We happily announce to you the draw of Winners in the UK NATIONAL LOTTERY programs , Your email address attached to ticket number
:3456 with serial number :7576/06 drew the lucky number 4-2-274, which subsequently won you the lottery in the first category.
You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of (1,000,000,00 Million Great British pounds sterling) in cash credited to file wlp/23456/05. This is from a total cash prize of 30,000,000 Million Great British pounds sterling,shared amongst the first thirty (30) lucky winners in this category. In view of this,your (1,000,000,00 Million Great British pounds sterling ) would be released to you by our redemption centers in United Kingdom.
All participants were selected randomly from World wide Website through computer ballot system extracted from over 1,000,000 companies and individuals.
To file your claims, please contact our agent:
Mr Jonathan Gibbs.
To avoid unnecessary delay and complications, Please quote your reference/batch numbers in any correspondences with us or our designated agent.
Congratulations once more from our members and staffs and thank you for being part of our promotional program.
Mr Jonathan Gibbs