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:
- "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 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)
- ",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)
- "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.
- +447031748958 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Dr Frank Willfield" (may be fake)
Date: Tue, 29 May 2012 07:33:16 -0700
Subject: THREE3MOBILE UK HEAD OFFICE
THREE3MOBILE UK HEAD OFFICE
46 POPULAR STREET HERNE HILL
LONDON 165X T TW20 9LF
Company No. 04022422
My name is Dr Frank Willfield and on the behalf of THREE3MOBILE COMPANY, We wish to inform you that you are one of our lucky winners which were randomly selected from a batch of 50,000,000 international emails.
Your email address emerged alongside 9 others as 1st category winner in this year's Annual Lottery Draw.
Consequently, you have therefore been approved for a total payout of 850,000.00 US Dollars (Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand US Dollars only).The following particulars is attached to your lottery payment order:
(i) Winning numbers: 8-13-34-55-84-85.BONUS 22.
(ii) Email ticket number: WN: 754/22/76
(iii) Lottery code number: WN: 09622Uk
Please contact the under listed claims officer as soon as possible for the immediate release of your winnings:
Mrs Belinda Morris
HEAD OFFICE CLAIMS AGENT
This email notification is auto-generated and it is valid for Eight weeks.
Once again on behalf of all our staff, CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Dr Frank Willfield
The Free Lotto Awards is proudly sponsored by the Nashua Corporation, the Intel Group, Toshiba, Dell computers Lexmark and a conglomeration of other international IT companies.
The free lotto internet draw is held once in a year and is so organized to encourage the use of the internet and computers worldwide. We are proud to say that over 200 Million Dollars are won annually in more than 150 countries worldwide.