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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claims 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 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.
- +447045741562 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "BMW AUTOMOBILE END OF YEAR PROMO" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 23:53:51 +0200
Subject: 2011 BMW AWARD NOTIFICATION !!!
I wish to notify you that this email address was randomly selected and entered
into our free fourth category draws(no ticket was sold)held on 14th February
2011.You have subsequently emerged a winner and therefore entitled to a
substantial amount of (950,000.00 Pounds) (NINE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND
GREAT BRITISH POUNDS) in the BMW AUTOMOBILE PROMO along with a BMW 5 SERIES
CAR.YOUR WINNING DETAILS:REFERENCE NUMBER:UK/839030X2/14
For further information, kindly confirm receipt of this email, by Replying via
our web site.
BMW DIRECTOR OF PROMOTION
Mrs. Natasha Rice.