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:
- "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!
Fraud email example:
From: "BMW® Registered Office"<email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 1 Jan 2012 00:04:25 -0800
Subject: Promotional code:76456321/BMW
BMW MOTOR AWARDS
SA72 6TS UK.
We are pleased to inform you of the release of the long awaited results of the BMW CAR INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION PROGRAM held on the 31st December 2011. You were entered as dependent clients with: Ticket number:42845 and Promotional code:76456321/BMW. You have been approved for a payment of £450,000.00 (four hundred and fifty thousand Great British Pounds) and a brand new BMW 5 Series Car. You are to contact our-accredited agent for your claim now.
Mr. David Den Broeder
You are also advised to provide him with the under listed information:
1.Name in full.
2.Address in full.
Once again congratulations.