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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- 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.
- +447010032765 (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: "MRS VIVIAN JONES" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2011 11:18:27 +0530
Subject: YOU HAVE WON 1,000,000.00 POUNDS
FROM THE DESK OF THE DIRECTOR:
UK INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY PRIZE AWARD DEPT
WINNING NOTIFICATION FOR CATEGORY "A" WINNER ONLY
Amount Won: 1,000,000.00 Pounds
Dear Lucky winner,
We are glad to inform you that you have won a prize money of One Million
Great Britain Pound Sterlings (1,000,000.00 Pounds) in our last lottery promotional
We are pleased to inform you of the final announcement of the result in
UK INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY PRIZE AWARD DEPT. Your email address was selected by our Electronic Random Selection System (ERSS) from an exclusive list of e-mail addresses of individual and corporate bodies. No tickets were sold.
With Ref.Number: GP 14-M-246-04,
Batch Number: 573881545-UK/2011
Ticket Number: PP3502/8707-01.
To file for Your Claims Please contact.
Name:CLAIMS OFFICERS MR JOSEPH POUNCH
However you will have to fill and submit this form to the events manager for
verification & direction on how you canclaim your winning fund.
Fill the Details Below:
1. Full name...............
2. Contact Address......
4. Mobile Number.........
5. Marital Status..........
14.Valid ID Proof (Send as email attachment)
Your Reference and Batch number at the top of this mail:
Mrs Vivian Jones.