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:
- ",000,000" (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)
- 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.
- +447024013843 (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.
- email@example.com (Aol, United Kingdom; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "UK International Lottery" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 3 May 2012 04:24:26 +0100
Congratulation to you, the UK International Lottery in collaboration with the British Government and the World gaming Board have brought to you this great opportunity as a result of the Promotion held 2012 since then we have been trying to contact you. Power by UK International Lottery Website: www.lottery.co.uk
We happily inform you that from the UK International Lottery Award 2012 held by Lottery Board in London, United Kingdom, your email address attach to be Winning Lucky Number: UKL/2012/033433 of the first set of winners. All email address winner was announce LIVE in CNN and BBC news.
All participants who were selected from the World Wide Web of over 2,000,000 email user. So your email is your online ticket that qualifies you for this draw. You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of 550,000 GBP. (Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand Great British Pounds), all you need to do now is contact the NIC International Courier & Logistics Company for information on how to claim your prize.
You are to contact NIC International Courier & Logistics Company sending them the bellow information:
Company Name: NIC International Courier & Logistics Company.
Contact Name: Augustine Jude.
PAYMENT VERIFICATION FORM
NOTE: Winner is to keep is winning confidential to avoid fraudulent claim. Contact the NIC International Courier & Logistics Company now by email : firstname.lastname@example.org and call them to let them know that you have sent them email.
Mr. Peter Wilson.