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")
- "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)
- "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!
Fraud email example:
From: "UK Lottery Organization" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 09:18:44 -0600
Subject: Congratulations you are a winner today at Malaysia
FROM: UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION,
OUR REF: UKLO/BT/621830
SPONSORSHIP NUMBER: 444968. GAMING APPROVAL NUMBER: 2233898163.
We happily announce to you the results of UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION'S FREE TICKET ONLINE DRAWS of March, 2012 held in MALAYSIA. We wish to congratulate you on the success of your email address which came out in the first winnings category and won you the total sum of US$4,600,000 in our free ticket, online and email address computer balloting.
Your e-mail address attached to ticket number UKLP-66-73-203-13 with serial number 5039398064482100 drew this lucky numbers 18-40-35-22-14-33-27 which subsequently won the Lottery and qualified you as an international Winner. You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of US$4,600,000 (Four Million, Six Hundred Thousand USA dollars) through any of our available payment methods.
Your email address was Reference Numbered to: 56475600545188 and your winnings and payment Batch Number is 074/05/ZY369. For your US$4,600,000 payment process to begin, you will be expected to REPLY with the below listed winnings and personal claims information:
* Your complete official names
* Full address & country name
* Telephone & mobile numbers
AGE, GENDER, OCCUPATION AND JOB TITLE.
* Free ticket and Lucky numbers
* Reference, Serial and Batch numbers
* Date and venue of draw
After you have replied with the above winnings and personal claims information, our APPOINTED CLAIMS AGENT Mr. Calvin Lee Gibson will get back to you with further details on how you will be paid your won prize of US$4,600,000.00 and you will proceed with him from there on to the end. Congratulations on your winnings.
Please contact Mr. Calvin Lee Gibson firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck from me and all staff members of the UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION.
MRS. JENNIFER LARRY.