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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "with your full names" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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!
Fraud email example:
From: "INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY COMMISSION" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 05:00:06 +0100
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU HAVE WON 615,810 EUROS IN SPANISH INTERNATIONAL E-MAIL AWARD PROMOTION PROGRAM 2011
INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY COMMISSION
FROM THE DESK OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS / PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT
Plaza Romano N9 Planta 5,
28011, MADRID, SPAIN
Attn: Lucky Winner,
We wish to congratulate you over your Email success in our computer
Balloting. Your email address drew and has won you the sum of
615,810 Euros(Six Hundred and Fifteen Thousand Eight Hundred and Ten Euros)
in SPANISH INTERNATIONAL E-MAIL AWARD PROMOTION PROGRAM 2011
in cash credited to file with WINNING REFERENCE NUMBER:ESP/WIN/008/05/10/MA;
BATCH NUMBER:EURO/1007/444/606/08; LUCKY NUMBER:23-7-2-6-12-9;
SERIAL NUMBER:6594 and PROMOTION DATE : 12th May 2011.
All Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over
300,000 companies and 600,000 individual email addresses selected from the web.
To claim your winning prize, you are to contact the appointed agent directly as
soon as possible for the immediate release of your winnings, with your full
names,telephone numbers,contact address and fax (If available) below:
GRUPO CATALANA OCCIDENTE S.A.
MR.JONATHAN FERDNANDO GOMEZ
Congratulations once again from all our staff.
Mrs. Paulina Hanna (Lottery co-ordinator)
Internation Lottery commission.
Madrid, 13th May, 2011