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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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")
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "foreign service manager" (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. )
- 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 free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "TRACEY DIDANE" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2011 03:05:28 +0200
Subject: ATTN: BENEFICIARY.
SPANISH INTERNATIONAL LOTTO COMMISSION
CALLE CAPITAN HAYE NR.53 28020 MADRID SPAIN
FROM: VICE PRESIDENT
Ref Number: JDD/0999/171
Batch Number: EGS/1983-022
Audit Number: D2A610
We are please to inform you of the end of the year release of the SPANISH SWEEPSTAKE INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY PROGRAM, held on the 1st DECEMBER, 2011. Due to the mix up of numbers and names, the results were later released on the 28TH of DECEMBER, 2011. Your name attached to Reference Number: JDD/0999/171 with, Batch Number: EGS/1983-022 drew the lucky numbers 4-13-21-27-36-38 B 45, which consequently won the lottery in the 3rd category.
You have therefore been approved a lump sum payment of 800.000.00 (EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND EUROS ONLY) in cash credited to file REF.NO: JDD/0999/171. This is from a total cash prize of 17, 000, OOO.00 (SEVENTEEN MILLION EUROS) shared among the lucky winners). CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Your fund is now deposited with a bank and insured in your name here in Madrid Spain. We ask that you keep your award information strictly confidential, until your claim has been processed and money remitted to your possession as this is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unwarranted abuse of this program by unscrupulous individuals. All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from (Six Million) names from Asia, America, Africa, Europe, and South Pacific, as part of our end of the year International promotion program. We hope your lucky name will draw a bigger cash prize in the subsequent programs ahead.
To begin your lottery claims, please contact your claim agent, DR CARLOS FERNANDEZ, THE FOREIGN SERVICE MANAGER, ANTON SECURTY COMPANY S A. ON TEL NO: 00 34 603 168 046. FAX NO: 00 34 917 693 107.or Email (firstname.lastname@example.org ) for the processing and remittance of your prize winning money to a designated bank account of yours choice. Remember, all prize money must be claimed not later than 15th January, 2012. Any claim, not made before this date will be returned to the MINISTERIO DE ECONOMIA Y HACIENDA as unclaimed fund.
And also be informed that 10% of your Winning belongs to ANTON SECURITY S.A, because they are the promotion Registered company to back up your winning claims, before payment will be made to you. Your agent will direct you further on the administrative requirement to enable the bank release your fund to the designated bank account of your choice, or through a certified bank cheque as you may wish.
NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference and batch numbers in every correspondence with your agent company. Furthermore, should there be any change of address, do inform your claims agent company as soon as possible.Please note that a copy of your letter has been sent to your agent. Congratulations once again!!!!!