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:
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- ",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)
- 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.
- +447014232171 (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: " Dr.Nail Michael." (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2011 02:53:53 +0530
Subject: MICROSOFT INTERNET PROMOTIONS
The Microsoft Award Team
Morley House, 26-30 Holbein Viaduct,
London EC1A 2BP.UK.
Batch No: 3566465021-0TA/06.
Ref No: 919347/749-0.
Winning No: 7-28-87-65-69-73.
The prestigious Microsoft / MSN companies has set out and successfully organized a Sweepstakes marking the year 2011 anniversary; Then rolled out over US$ 900,000,000.00 (Nine Hundred Million U. S. Dollars Only) for this year's Anniversary Draws. Email addresses of participants for the draws were randomly selected and drawn from a wide range of internet web hostings which we enjoy their patronage. The MICROSOFT 2011 INTERNET PROMOTIONS was held this Month at Stamford Bridge Stadium London United Kingdom.Your email address has therefore been approved to claim a total sum of US$ 1,000.000.00 (One Million United States Dollars Only) in cash credited to File NO: KTU/9023118308/03.. To file for your claim, Please contact our Claim Agent immediately through his contact information as follows:
Contact Person: Dr.Nail Michael.
Direct Tel: +447014232171..
Contact email: (email@example.com)
Mrs. Grace Sanders.
For MICROSOFT INTERNET PROMOTIONS