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:
- 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:
- ",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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- 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.
- +447045708253 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +448704719707 (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 (Yahoo, Hong Kong; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "UK PREMIER LOTTERY ORGANIZATION" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2011 10:19:36 +0530
Subject: Email Lottery
UK PREMIER LOTTERY ORGANIZATION
56 UNION STREET
We wish to inform you of the lottery draws held on the 18th of Febuary
2011 to declare the winners of the (UK Premier Lottery Organization).
This lottery scheme was created to bring awareness to the world, being
that United Kingdom is hosting the next Olympics in 2012.
Every Month a random email is selected from all webmail database
around the world to select a winner for the 2010 Email Lottery and
your email address was gotten through United Kingdom Information
Network Online (U.K.I.N.O) which is affiliated with the internet. And
you were selected as the winner of the 2010 Email Lottery, You have
won the total sum of $9.5,000,000.00.
To begin your claim process, please contact your claims manager with
details below and also provide him with the requested information so
that he can Expedite the processing of your claims.
FUND RELEASE VERIFICATION FORM:
Foreign Claims Department,
Earlville Finance United Kingdom PTY
1212 EARLVILLE HOUSE
1580 Ridge Circle Avenue
Tel: +44 704 570 8253
Fax: +44 870 471 9707
To avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please quote your
reference/batch numbers to any correspondences with us or our
(a) Remember, all prize money must be claimed not later than Ten days
(10)After notice. After this date, all funds will be returned as
(b) Being one of the lucky winners, you constitute entrant's full and
unconditional agreement to the acceptance of our terms and conditions
claims to avoid any discrepancy in the cause of payment of your prize
(c) To avoid double claims, you are advised to keep your winning
details very confidential, as any discrepancies resulting from a
breach of this confidentiality on the part of the winners will be
covered solely by such winner as our staffs are bound by the oath of
secrecy taken on employment.
Congratulations once more from all members and staffs of this program.
Thank you for being part of our promotional lottery program.
Mr. Hughes Dills