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:
- ",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)
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "abuja" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- "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: Dr Ali Amiun <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2011 06:29:35 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re:International Shell Award Of $1,000,000.00 USD
SHELL OIL INTERNATIONAL
International Prize Award Dept
45A Virgina Street
Abuja Fct Nigeria PMB 35
Dear Lucky Winner,
We are delighted to inform you that your email address has luckily emerged as a winner of the Shell Petroleum Development Company Promotion award and you have won the prize sum of $1,000,000.00 usd(One Millon Dollars).
Your email address was selected by our Electronic Random Selection System (ERSS) from an exclusive list of e-mail addresses of individual and corporate bodies. No tickets were sold!!!
Your winning code number is identifed with:
winning code 344521
To file for Your Claims Please contact.
Name:Rev. Dr James Wilson
You are advice to provide him with your following information as stated below :
NOTE:1. All winnings must be claimed not later than 14 days and a WINNER will be responsible for any charge that may occure.
2. Your funds are protected by hard cover insurance policy until it is remitted to your account in your country.
Congratulations once more from our members of staff and thank you for being part of our promotional program.
Dr Ali Amiun