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.
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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:
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known 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!
Fraud email example:
From: "Customer Services" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2011 19:22:37 +0600
Subject: VODAFONE ANNIVERSARY 2011
1-3 Tzavella Str., 152 31, Halandri
Attn: Lucky Winner,
We bring to your notice the winning prize from VODAFONE ANNIVERSARY
program held on the 26th March 2011 through Internet ballot
System among 20,000 Microsoft users.
Subsequently, your email attached to winning no: 48823) won contract
sum of 500,000.( Five Hundred Thousand Euro Only )We request your
serious attention to this notification by contacting the claims and
notarization department with claim information and procedures of claim.
Chief Finance Officer,
Contact Person: Mr.Larry Asasia
Also require are;
1. Full Names
6. Contact Phone Number
7. Winning number
Congratulations once again from our members of staff and thank you for
being part of our promotional program.