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:
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "million british pounds" (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)
- 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.
- +447035905493 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: Mark Riddly <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2011 13:53:21 +0700
LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS
LOCAL ORGANIZING COMMITTEE.
One Churchill Place, Canary Wharf
London E14 5LN
We happily announce to you the draw of the LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS promotional Lottery program held on the 30th September 2011 in United Kingdom.
Your e-mail address attached to ticket number: B9564 75604545 188 with! Serial number 97560 drew the winning:
which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category.
You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of 1,000,000.00 (One Million British Pounds Sterling) in cash credited to file PC/9080118308/02.This is from a total cash prize of 110,000,000.00 Million, shared amongst the first One Hundred and Ten (110) lucky winners in this category world-wide.
This is to enhance the publicity of the games come 2012. For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential till your claims is processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize.
This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some unscrupulous elements. Please be warned. Please send the following requirements for us to start processing your prize.
6. Telephone Number:
7. Fax Number:
8. Mobile Number:
9. Country of Residence:
please quote your reference/batch numbers while responding to this message.
Thank you for being part of our promotional lottery program.