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:
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Tessy Atkinson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2011 07:21:18 -0600
Subject: 2011 SWEEPSTAKES LOTTO WINNING NOTIFICATION
560 SPENGLER ST.RICHLAND,
Re: CLAIM NUMBER 926/432/NM 2011 SWEEPSTAKES LOTTO WINNING NOTIFICATION
This is to inform you that you have been selected for a cash prize of Five Hundred and Ninety Thousand Dollars ($590,000.00) in the just concluded annual final draws of AUSTRALIA SWEEPSTAKE LOTTERY / INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMME released recently. The online cyber lotto draws was conducted from an exclusive list of 250,000 e-mail addresses of individual and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random computer search from the internet, no tickets were sold. After this automated computer ballot, your e-mail address emerged as one of two winners in the 2nd category with the following winning information:
REF No: LDR512603/04.
Serial No: 926/432/NM
Please note; you are hereby adviced to send the assign Fiduciary Agent, details below for processing of your claims via e-mail to Don. Pablo Martinez (email@example.com)
1. Full Names:
3. Marital Status:
7. Telephone Number:
9. Country of Residence: