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")
- ",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)
- 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!
Fraud email example:
From: Mrs Harden Cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 13:38:59 -0800 (PST)
Subject: CONSOLATION PRIZE WINNER NOTIFICATION CONTACT US NOW
Dear consolation Prize Winner,
CONSOLATION PRIZE WINNER NOTIFICATION CONTACT US NOW
POWER BALL LOTTO Group International, officially bring to your notice of the
final draw result of the 22nd December 2010. POWER BALL LOTTO -wheel E-game
which was conducted at [POWER BALL LOTTERY BOARD] our international corporate
office complex in The UNITED KINGDOM.
We wish to congratulate and inform you on the selection of your email coupon
number which was selected among the 5 lucky consolation prize winners Your email
ID identified with Coupon Number: PBL/UK/6655/CP and was selected by our E-games
Random Selection System (ERSS) with entries from the 100,000 different email
addresses enrolled for the E-game.
Your email ID was included among the 100,000 different email addresses
submitted by our partner international email provider companies.
You have won a consolation cash prize of GBP 1,000,000 (One Million Great
Britain Pounds) only.
You are to contact the DPU Officer with the following details for the release of
This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted
abuse of this program. To begin your claim, please contact your Claims Agent:
for more information on how to claim your winning prize.
Prof. Tony Lawsmart
26 Stanhope Road
Kent CT14 6AD London