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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- ",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)
- "high court" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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: "Hyundai Motor Company" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2011 23:15:48 +0100
Subject: <<<Your Active E-mail made you a Beneficiary>>>
This is to notify you that you have been chosen By the seven-member
committee to fulfill Chairman Chung Mong-koo's promise to donate One
trillion won (US$1.1 billion) to charity, contingent to a suspension
early this month of his three-year prison sentence for embezzlement
and breach of trust. The ruling meant that the 69-year-old chairman
will not be thrown back into jail as long as he remains clean during
the next five years. In suspending the prison sentence, the Seoul
High Court ordered Chung to fulfill the pledge of donations. Chung,
want this money used for the protection of the environment and to
build art and cultural facilities.
As one of the final recipients of this Cash Grant/Donation for your
own personal, education and business development. The Hyundai Company
is the world's largest shipbuilder and 6th largest automaker and owns
Hyundai Group, the parent company for all Hyundai Motor. The company
has decided to randomly select email addresses that would benefit from
this donation. Based on the random selection exercise from internet
service providers(ISP) and millions of Super market cash invoices
worldwide, you were selected among the lucky recipients to receive
the award sum of US$2,000,000.00 (Two Million United States Dollars)
as charity donations/aid from Hyundai Group.
You are required to expeditiously Contact the head of committee (HOC)
below for qualification documentation and processing of your claims,
from Monday through Sunday. On contact with head of committee (HOC),
You'll be given your payment pin number which you will use in collecting
the funds. Please endeavor to quote your pin number QN(HM-145-5611) in
Head of committee: Mr. Imran Khand
On behalf of the seven-member committee kindly accept our warmest
Mr. Ernest W. Garnett