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.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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: "EUROPEAN LOTTO COMPANY." <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2011 19:48:51 +0000
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU HAVE WON.
EUROPEAN LOTTO COMPANY.
34 The Aldwych
My name is Mrs, Barbara Johnson and on the behalf of EUROPEAN LOTTO COMPANY
OF UNITED KINGDOM, I wish to announce you as one of the 10 lucky winners in
the EUROPEAN LOTTO draw held on the 30th of December 2010.
Your email address emerged alongside 9 others as a 2nd category winner in
this year's Annual EUROPEAN LOTTO Draw.Consequently, you have therefore been
approved for a total payout of £870,000.00 UK Pounds (EIGHT HUNDRED & SEVENTY
THOUSAND POUNDS STERLINGS).The following particulars are attached to
(i) Winning numbers: 01-02-13-37-39. Bonus Number: (*01*) (*04*).
(ii) Email ticket number: QNB139/05/21
(iii) Lotto code number: NVHC022UK
(iv) The file Ref number: ELC/03/05-19-29-40/UK
Please contact the under listed claims officer as soon as possible for the
immediate release of your winnings:
CONTACT PERSON: MR. ANDREW PETERSON.
DEPARTMENT OF CLAIMS
Please alway put your Email ticket number as the subject when contacting
Mr. Andrew Peterson with the email address above.
This email notification is auto-generated and it is valid for four weeks.
Once again on behalf of all our staff, CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Mrs, Barbara Johnson.