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.
- 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:
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
- +447035916288 (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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Uk-Thailand Lottery Organization" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 12:32:16 -0800
Subject: Your E-mail address has won you US$4.6M
Your E-mail address has won you US$4.6M
UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION
TICKET FREE/ONLINE E-MAIL ADDRESS WINNINGS DEPARTMENT.
If you are the correct owner of this email address,then be glad this day as the result of the UK lotto online e-mail winning draws and sweepstakes held in BANGKOK-THAILAND on the 28th of February 2012 has just been released and we are glad to announce to you that your e-mail address has won you the lottery in the first category and you are entitled to claim the sum of US$4.6M.
Your email addresses was entered for the online draw on this Ticket Number: APP236566301307 and won on this Lucky Number: MX014926583. You are to contact Mr Joshua Ong on the below email address for quick delivery of your won cheque of US$4.6M. All winners cheque are certified cashiers and are cashable in any bank of any country.
To enable the Claims Verification officer ascertain you as the rightful receiver of the won cheque, include the below listed information in your contact mail.
Your country, complete official names, amount won, ticket and lucky numbers, date/venue of draw, address where your wish to receive your winnings, contact telephone, mobile and fax numbers, sex, age, occupation and job title.
Contact Agent: Mr Joshua Ong.
Mr Jerry Fidelix.
UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION