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.
- 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 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 (Yahoo, Japan; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2012 01:55:29 +0700
Subject: YOUR EMAIL HAS WON US$4.6M
UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION
TICKET FREE/ONLINE E-MAIL ADDRESS WINNINGS DEPARTMENT.
Are you the correct owner of this email address? If yes then be glad this day as the result of the UK lotto online e-mail address and free-ticket winning draws of June 2012 held in Bangkok-Thailand has just been released and we are glad to announce to you that your email address won you the sweepstakes in the first category and you are entitled to claim the sum of Four Million, Six Hundred Thousand USA Dollars.
Your email address was entered for the online draw on this ticket # 68494-22206-44306 and won on this Lucky #: 88-16-54993-141412. For claims, contact Mr. John Edward on this email address email@example.com for options on how to receive your won prize of US$4.6M.
To enable Mr. John Edward ascertain you as the rightful winner and receiver of the $4.6Million certified cheque, MAKE SURE you include the below listed information in your contact mail to him.
Your complete official names, country of origin and country of residence/work, contact telephone and mobile numbers, address, amount won, free ticket and lucky numbers, date of draw. OPTIONAL: - [Sex, age, occupation and job title].
Mr. Aaron Jones.
Online Winning Notification Department.
UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION.