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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- The following fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "international lottery programme" (no such lottery exists)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- ",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.
- +447031809541 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: Johnson Thomas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 03:58:35 -0800 (PST)
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS !
Winning no: KB8701/LPRC
Amount won: $1,000,000.00
We are delighted to inform you of your prize release
on the 6th of January 2012 from the United-kingdom
International Lottery Programmed. Which is fully based
on an electronic selection of winners using their
e-mail addresses.Your name was attached to ticket
number; 575061725 8056490902 serial number 6741137002.
This batch draws the lucky numbers as follows:
4-13-33-37-42 bonus number 17,which consequently won
the lottery in the second category.
You hereby have been approved a lump sum pay of
US$1,000,000.00 in cash
credit file ref: ILP/HW 47509/02 from the total cash
prize shared amongst eight lucky winners in this
category. All participant were selected through a
computer balloting system drawn from Nine hundred
thousand E-mail addresses from Canada, Australia,
United States, Asia, Europe, Middle East, and Africa
as part of our international promotions program which
is conducted annually.
This Lottery was promoted and sponsored by a
conglomorate of some multinational companies as part
of their social responsibility to the citizens in the
communities where they have operational base. Further
more your details(e-mail address) falls within our
European representative office in Amsterdam,Holland,
as indicated in your play coupon and your prize of
US$1,000,000.00 will be released to you from our
regional branch bureau in Canada.
We hope with part of your prize, you will participate
in ourend of year high stakes for US$2.8 Billion
HOW TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE: Simply contact our claims
Contact Phone Number:+447031809541
to file for your claim.
Please quote your Date of draw, Reference Number,
amount won, Batch Number and Winning Number,
which can be found on the top-left corner of this
Also, you should give in your mobile telephone number
to helplocate your file easily. For security reasons, we
advice all winners to keep this information
confidential from the public until your claim is
processed and your prize has been released to you.
This is part of our security protocol to avoid double
claiming and unwarranted taking advantage of this
programmed by non-participant or unofficial personnel.
Note, all winnings MUST be claimed by the 15th of February
2012; otherwise all funds will be returned as
Unclaimed and eventually donated to charity.
Congratulations once again on your winning!
(For the co-ordinator)
PLEASE DO REPLY TO THIS EMAIL. CONTACT YOUR CLAIMS
OFFICER AT: email@example.com
Note, quote the amount won and mobile
phone number while sending your winning details to
your claims agent.
PLEASE ENSURE YOU TYPE THE EMAIL ADDRESS CORRECTLY TO
ENSURE SAFE & QUICK MAIL DELIVERY/RESPONSE.
ANY BREACH OF CONFIDENTIALITY ON THE PART OF WINNERS
WILL RESULT TO DISQUALIFICATION