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.
- 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.
- 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.
- email@example.com (Representative; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "keith martins" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 08:58:43 -0400
Reference : BL/11178913/0809 ), Batch N. SK 246/3011 ESP
Ticket Number 100096 with Serial Number 2311-18 drew the Lucky Numbers 8-21-26-37-40-41,,
you have won 920,510.00( Nine hundred and twenty thousand five hundred and ten euros )in the euro international lottery online sweepstaks program, held 27st of march 2012. In Madrid (SPAIN). This email was sent to notify you officially
about the award and to advise you to contact the processing office immediately for claim;
CONTACT: MR. JOSE FENADO SANCHEZ.
On E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CITY / COUNTRY: Madrid Spain.
TEL: +34-651-568298 and FAX: +34-911-820262
COMPLETE THIS PAYMENT PROCESSING FORM AND SEND TO MADRINSURE SEGUROS SA, FOR PROCESSING AND REMITANCE OF WINNING PRIZE IN TO YOUR ACCOUNT.
BANK NAME AND A/C NUMBER:
MR Keith Martins