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:
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- "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!
- 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.
- +447045797666 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: Yahoo Inc ! <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 00:16:56 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: Congratulation You have won One Million Dollars in Yahoo! Lottery promotion
Customer Care .
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089.
Dear Lucky Winner,
This is to inform you that you have won a prize money of One Million United States Dollars Only (US$1,000 000.00) in the YEAR 2010/2011 YAHOO! Lottery promotion which is organized by YAHOO! LOTTERY INC for the introduction and Launching of the new YAHOO ! BETA MAIL which all YAHOO! subscribers are required to switch to. YAHOO! & MICROSOFT WINDOWS, arranged and gathered all the e-mail addresses of the people that are active online, among the Millions that subscribe at YAHOO!, HOTMAIL and others we only selected THREE (3) candidates as our winners after undergoing the random selection process through Electronic Balloting System (E.B.S) without the candidate applied, we congratulate you for being one of the people selected.
PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND CLAIM
You are to contact the Claim Agent Dr Peter Wilde who will issue you a clearance paper as a winning certificate approved and certified from our Regional office in London , United Kingdom . And your prize money will be released to you from any of our regional promotion banks as directed by the claim agent.
YAHOO! Beta Lottery Prize must be claimed not later than 14 days from date of Draw Notification in which Prize has been won.
Note: Any prize not claimed within this period of 14days will be forfeited.
These numbers above fall within the United Kingdom file, you are requested to contact him the claim Agent and send your Identification Numbers and Personal information to him;
Contact by E-mail,
Dr Peter Wilde
Claim Agent and Verification Officer
(Mon-Fri 9am-5pm London Local Time) Address: 125
Shaftesbury Avenue, London,WC2H 8AD
You are therefore advised to send the following information to him to facilitate and process the transfer of your fund with any of our Bank promotion agent.
Send your Identification Numbers/Your Personal Information to him so that he will proceed further for your prize claim immediately:
1. Full Name
3. Contact Address
4. Telephone Number
5. Fax Number
6. Date of Birth
10.Alternative E-mail address
11.Next of Kin of the Beneficiary incase
You are advised to keep your winning information confidential to avoid double claim and abuse of the program until your prize is paid to you.
We hope you're enjoying your new Yahoo! Mail account. Now take the next step and claim your money and say thanks to Yahoo! You select how to transfer the prize money to you.
1. Account Transfer to your nominated account
2. Cheque Delivery
This prize will be released to you from any of our promotional banks as will be directed by the United Kingdom Claim/verification agent.
Note: No amount should be allowed to be deducted from your prize money as a contractual agreement between this board and the paying bank.
We use this opportunity to thank our major network sponsors/promoter for their support to this year winning notification draw to the lucky winners.
Yahoo! UK & Ireland
This e-mail is from Yahoo! Head Office USA and approved by the Yahoo! UK Ltd, 125 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8AD.
>From Yahoo Customer Care
Copyright © 2011 Yahoo Inc!. All rights reserved