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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "million pounds" (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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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!
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Mary Bauer" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2012 14:17:08 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Congratulations!!! 2012London olympics draw
Congratulations, Your email and Ref: Number MDB/002958/12) has won £3000.000.00 Three Million Pounds from London 2012 Summer Olympic started on 27 July - 12 August 2012. your email address was generate during the London olympics draw held in Johannesburg South Africa To file for your claim, Please Contact our Paying agent (Payment Processing Center) in South Africa regional office for your Payment immediately.
1. Your Full Name: ......
2. Address: .............
3. E-mail Address: ......
8. Marital Status:.......
Contact your claim agent for your payment with the below information and submit the above information to him.
CLAIMS OFFICER CONTACT DETAILS:
Contact Person: Dr. Thomas J. Adrian
For the purpose of confidentiality, be advised not to disclose your winning details to the public until your claim has been processed and you have received your prize money. This is part of precautionary measures to avoid double claim or misuse of this program by some social miscreants
Mrs. Mary Bauer,
London Olympics Loc Team