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:
- "please endeavor to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "million 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)
- "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.
- +447024055456 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +448723313271 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "FREE LOTTO COMPANY" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2011 13:48:28 -0000
Subject: ATTN: Dear Winner..........NOVEMBER WINNING DRAWS
THE FREE LOTTO COMPANY
UK HEAD OFFICE
SUITE 28-30, LION TOWERS
CENTRAL LONDON ENGLAND
We are pleased to announce to you that the draw of Free Lotto online Sweepstakes International Program held on 30/11/2011.Your name and e-mail address attached to ticket number: 56475600545 188 with Serial number 5368/05 drew the lucky number: 10 which subsequently won the LOTTO PLUS 1 prize. You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of 1,000,000 pounds (One million Pounds) in cash credited to file KTU/9023118308/05 of Free Lotto.
All participants for the online version were selected randomly from the World Wide Web through a computer draw system and extracted from over 50,000,000 unions, associations, and corporate bodies that are listed online.This promotion takes place weekly.Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our American booklet representative office in America as indicated in your playcoupon. In view of this, your 1,000,000 pounds would be released to you by any of our payment offices in Europe(UK).
To file for your claim contact:
Tel: +44 702 405 5456
Fax: +44 872 331 3271
1. Please quote your Reference number in all correspondence with the claims officer.
2. Winners must send their names, address, telephone number.
3. winners must send identification (international passport or drivers license) to claim officer to process immediate payment of their prize.
That way your Winnings Certificate and all other relevant documents/paperwork can be prepared for you. Note Remember, all winning must be claimed not later than 21/12/2011. After this date, all funds will be returned as unclaimed. Please note, in order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, remember to quote your reference number and batch number in all correspondence. Furthermore, should there be any change of address do inform us as soon as possible.
In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please endeavor to quote your Reference Number (LSUK/2031/8161/05) and Batch Number(R3/A312-59)in every correspondence with your agent. Furthermore, should there be any change in your address, do inform your claims agent as soon as possible.
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. Please be warned.
Good luck from me and members of staff of the Free Lotto Company.
Online Co-ordinator for FREE LOTTERY SWEEPSTAKES PROGRAMME
N.B. Anybody under the age of 16 cannot participate in this programme and any breach of confidentiality on the part of the winners will result to disqualification.
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