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")
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- ",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)
- "u.k " (this email uses bad English)
- 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.
- +448712641822 (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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Microsoft Corporation" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2011 08:09:44 -0300
Subject: ****Congratulations Lucky Winner***!!!
Dear Microsoft User,
This is to inform you that you have been selected for a cash prize of
£1,000,000.00 (One Million Great British Pound Sterling) from Microsoft
Corporation 2011 Lottery International programs held Today in London, United
The selection process was carried out through random selection in our
computerized email selection system (ess) from a database of over 250,000
email addresses including Gmail account and other random domain selections
drawn from all the continents of the world.
The Microsoft Corporation Lottery is approved by the British Gaming Board and
also licensed by The International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR).
This promotional lottery is the 3rd of its kind and we intend to sensitize the
To begin the processing of your prize you are to contact our MS Claims Office
for more information as regards procedures to claim your prize.
REF No: L/200-26937, BATCH No: 2011MJL-01
To file for your claim, call your fiduciary agent and forward your information
in the order below to his email address:
MS CLAIMS OFFICE
U.K OFFICE.ENGLAND, LHART STREET 34, WALSALL.WS1 3PE
WEST MIDLAND, LONDON. 70 1NL UNITED KINGDOM.
Claims Officer: Dr. James Ian Cole
TEL : +44 871 264 1822
Payment Processing Form:
Contact him by providing your REF No: L/200-26937 & BATCH No: 2011MJL-01. You
are also advised to provide him with the under listed information as soon as
1. Name in full
4. Age & Gender
6. Phone (Mobile)
7. Present Country
We ask that you keep this award personal, till your claims have been processed
and your funds remitted to you. This is a part of our security measures to
avoid double claiming or unwarranted participants or impostors, taking
advantage of the situation
Failure to claim your prize (CASH) would result to forfeiting and will be used
for next 10,000,000 Pounds Sterling international lottery program.
Once again congratulations.
Microsoft® 2011. © 1993-2011 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.