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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "el gordo " (can only win this lottery if you bought a ticket)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "FELICIA GONZALEZ" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 23:20:21 +0100
EL GORDO SPANISH SWEEPSTAKE
GATE WAY LOTTERY COMPANY
CALLE AROYO NO 44-47, PISO 4G 28030 MADRID ESPA?A
FROM: THE DESK OF THE VICE PRESIDENT.
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD..
BATCH: EGGS-545-618-987: REFERENCE: 33/6755/IPD
This is to inform you of the release of the EL-GORDO DE LA PRIMITIVA
LOTTERY held on the 28th of Febuary 2012. The results were released on
the 3rd, March 2012. Your email address was attached to ticket
766-513-56-189 with serial number 375-876-775-431 that drew the lucky
numbers of 90-52-55-26-49, which consequently won the lottery in the
1st category. You have therefore been approved for a lump sum of payent
of Euros 1,950,000.39c (ONE MILLION, NINE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND
EURO,THIRTY NINE = CENTIMOS ONLY)in cash. credited to file with
CONGRATULATIONS!!! Your fund is now deposited with our Security Company
and insured in your name. Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we
ask that you keep this award from public notice untill your claims has
been processed and the money remitted to your account as this is part of our
security protocol to avoid double claiming of unwarranted taking
advantage of this program by participants as it has happened in the
All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn
from 25,000 names from Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, North and
South America, Middle East and Africa as part of our International
Promotions Program. We hope your lucky name will draw a bigger cash
prize in the subsequent programs. To begin your lottery claims , please
contact your claims agent, MR.MACARTHY GAAL (email@example.com )
on Telephone number: 0034-603-268-645.
Remember, all prize money must be claimed not later than two weeks from
the day you receive this notification. Any claim not made before this
date will be returned to the MINISTERIO DE ECONOMIA Y HACIENDA. And
also be informed that 2% of your lottery winning belongs to your agent because
they are the company that bought your ticket and played the lottery on
your name, NOTE this 2% will be remitted. AFTER you have received your
winnings prize because the money is insured in your name already.
NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please
remember to quote your reference and batch numbers in every
correspondenc with us or your claim agent. furthermore, should there be
any change of address, please do inform your claim agent as soon as possible.
A copy of your lucky winning ticket and your deposit certificate will be sent
to you by your claim agent, MR. MACARTHY GAAL CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Once again from all members of our staff and thank you for being a part
of our International promotions program. we wish you continued good
Mrs Felicia Gonzalez.