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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "yahoo/msn lottery inc" (no such lottery exists)
- "yahoo/msn lottery" (no such lottery exists)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "hundred thousand great 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)
- "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.
- +447017606112 (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: "The Yahoo/Msn Lottery Incorporation" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 14:17:28 +0100 (CET)
Subject: Microsoft Lottery Incoporation 2011 Award
The Yahoo/Msn Lottery Incorporation
PO Box 1010,Liverpool
L70 1NL,United Kingdom.
Ref: XYL /26510460037/05
We are pleased to inform you that your email address has won an Award in
the YAHOO/MSN LOTTERY (Inc) LIVE, in conjunction with the MICROSOFT
WINDOWS, YAHOO/MSN WINDOWS, held this week in London, United
The Award Center of YAHOO/MSN Inc randomly selected 10 email addresses
through a computer ballot system to receive an award of Five Hundred
Thousand Great British Pounds Starlings (£500,000.00) each as a part of
their for-profit philanthropic wing (YAHOO/MSN.) promotion. Awards MUST be
claimed by the email owner ONLY, not later than 12 days from the day of
Batch number......................YM 09102XN
Our Event Manager will immediately commence the process to facilitate the
release of your funds as soon as you contact him. For security reasons,
you are advised to keep your winning information confidential till your
claims is processed and your money remitted to you. This is part of our
precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of
Send your complete personal information with your Award Reff no, Batch no,
and file no. to enable us process your claim;
1. Full Name:
5. Marital Status:
12.Next Of Kin:
15. Your Reference and Batch Number:
Dr. Caldwell Martins
Director of Operations
Please do not reply if you are NOT the owner of this email address.
Once again congratulations!! Sincerely Yours,
(Yahoo/Msn Lottery Promotion/Lottery Coordinator).