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:
- "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)
- "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)
- "email@example.com" (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!
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: Fitzgerald William <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2011 20:56:43 +0200
Subject: Important Email Notice.
Dear Internet User,
This is to formally inform and congratulate you on the result of our Cyber Lottery draw of the International Prize E-Promotional Draws sponsored by consortium of software manufacturing companies.
The online electronic-raffle draws was conducted from an exclusive list of 250,000 international emails accounts picked by our Electronic Random Selection System (ERSS) from an exclusive list However, no tickets were sold. After the automated computer ballot collection, your E-mail address emerged as a winner category "A" with the following numbers attached:
(1) Reference Number: IPD-931-900-108 (2) Batch Number: 77521124 (3) Ticket Number: EU 11900097 NL/2011
You are therefore to receive a cash prize of 1,000,000.00 (One Million Euros) from the total payout sum. The payout of this cash prize to you will be subject to the final validations and satisfactory report that you are the owner of the winning email address. In line with the Governing rules of claim, you are required to establish contact with your designated claims agent via email or telephone with the particulars below:
Foreign Claims Agent
Amsterdam, Netherlands Office
Contact: Iwan Hervi jr
Tel: +31 617 205 556
Fax: +31 847 455 835
In line with the governing rules of claim, you are requested to call or furnish Mr.Hervi with the following information:
1. Full name:
7. Winning Ref Number:
We ask that you keep your Winning information confidential until your claims have been processed. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participant.