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:
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "million pounds" (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)
- "million british pounds" (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 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.
- email@example.com (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Uk Charity Foundation" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2010 11:05:16 -0500 (COT)
Subject: Contact Agent
UK CHARITY ORGANIZATION AWARD PROMOTION
Suite 154, Clarendon WD61JF, London.
We happily announce to you that you have won our International Charity
Award of £1,000,000.00, during the 2010 Global Internet Summit titled
Discovering Greatness, held in the London, United Kingdom. All 30 winning
Addresses were randomly selected from a batch of 50,000,000 international
Emails. Your Email address emerged alongside 29 others as a category 2
winner in this year's Annual UK CHARITY ORGANIZATION PROMOTION LOTTERY
draws. No tickets were sold.
Consequently, you have therefore been approved for a total payout of One
Million British Pounds (£1,000,000.00) only. The following particulars are
attached to your lotto Payment order:
(i) Winning Serial Number: 900-102-447
(ii) Email Ticket Number: UK754/22/76
(iii) Lotto Code Number: TL09622UK
(iv) File Ref Number: ICA/11-GIS/2009UK
Please contact the under listed claims Agent as soon as possible for the
immediate release of your winnings: PLEASE CALL OUR AGENT NOW.
Claims Our Agent
MR. Peter Scott
N.B: Steps to claiming your prize;
1. Contact your claims Agent immediately you receive this notification to
begin the claims process.
2. You are required to send your full name(s) as it should appear on the
Certificate of Winning that would be issued to you, and fill the below
Non-Private Information when contacting the Agent.
1. FULL NAME(S): ________________________________
2. ADDRESS, CITY, STATE, COUNTRY: ________________
3. SEX: ________________________________________
4. AGE: _______________________________________
5. OCCUPATION: _______________________________
6. COMPANY: _____________________ B. POSITION HELD: ____________
7. WINNING E-MAIL ADDRESS: ___________________
8. TELEPHONE NUMBER: ________________________
File Ref Number:________________________
3. Also quote your File reference Number as given above while contacting
the Agent. This is very important and compulsory on first correspondence
with your Claims Agent.
On behalf of the entire UK CHARITY ORGANIZATION, I say Congratulations!!!
Jeff D. Colin
PURPOSE OF UK CHARITY ORGANIZATION AWARDS PROMOTION LOTTERY
To encourage internet users.
The UK CHARITY ORGANIZATION, a non governmental organization (NGO) is
proudly sponsored by the Microsoft Corporation, the Intel Group Toshiba,
Dell computers and a conglomeration of other international IT companies.
The UK CHARITY ORGANAIZATION PROMOTION LOTTERY draw is held once in a year
and is so organized to encourage the use of the internet and computers
We are proud to say that over 15 Million Pounds are won annually in more
than 150 countries worldwide. If you do not wish to accept your prize, you
should disregard this Notification. Unclaimed Prize Money will be recalled
and put back into the Foundations projects.
Contact your Claims Agent immediately!