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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million united state 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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "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.
- +447011121823 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Maureen Debby." (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 17:13:06 -0600
Message from the desk of vice President International Lottery Commission,
Promotions/ Prize/ Award Department.
I couldn't believe my self when I discovered that you have not received your winning prize payment which your email ID won for you in our computer Balloting program last year. I was full of surprises because I found no good reason why your winning prize payment should be remaining on hold till now. Well, accept my apology for the delay and damages this might have caused you so far. Be inform that we have converted your payment sum of ($1.5 Million United State Dollars) through wire transfer.
I used my position to program your payment through this method to avert stoppage of your payment anymore. Please contact the AGENT IN CHARGE OF YOUR PAYMENT. All you need to do is to send the needed information below to the agent.
YOUR FULL NAME:
Contact person: Agent Ken Duke.
Contact Email address: email@example.com
Contact Telephone: +447 011 121 823
I am presently out of the country on special assignment and i will be back in next month. The agent is waiting to confirm the details from you to enable him proceed.
Mrs. Maureen Debby.
Congratulations once again from all our staff.
(Lottery CEO-coordinator) International Lottery commission.