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:
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Yolanda Brandon" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2012 06:52:20 +0200
Subject: MICROSOFT PROMOTION NOTIFICATION.
Microsoft Corporation Sweepstakes Promotion,
Your Winning Batch No: HLS/LTY/2901
Your Winning Reference No: SBL/029/2910
OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION.
We are pleased to inform you of the release of the long awaited results of Sweepstakes promotion organized by Microsoft Corporations,In conjunction with the FOUNDATION FOR THE PROMOTION OF SOFTWARE products, (F.P.S.) held this (JUNE) 2012,In Madrid Spain.Where in your email address emerged as one of the online Winning emails,Where in your email address emerged in category "A" with the following numbers attached:
(i) Reference Number: SBL/029/2910 (ii) Batch Number: HLS/LTY/2901
You are therefore to receive a cash prize of? 550,000.00 euro (Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand Euros Only),from the total payout sum.The payout of this cash prize to you will be subject to the final validations and satisfactory report that you are the owner of the winning-email address.In line with the Governing rules of claim,You are required to establish contact with your designated claims agent via email with the particulars below:
1. Full name:................
7. Winning Ref Number:...............
Mr. James Marshall
We ask that you keep your Winning information confidential until your claims have been processed. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double
claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participant.
The Microsoft Internet E-mail lottery Awards is sponsored by former CEO/Chairman, Bill Gates and a consortium of software promotion companies. The Intel Group, Toshiba, Dell Computers and other International Companies. The Microsoft internet E-mail draw is held periodically and is organized to encourage the use of the Internet and promote computer literacy worldwide.
Mrs. Yolanda Brandon,