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")
- "00,000.00" (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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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.
- +447010070357 (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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs Rachael Porter" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2012 12:46:09 +0800
POWER BALL LOTTERY PROMO.
P O Box 902 Plymouth, PL4 6AB UNITED
Our Ref: YTH/JBP /July. /12
Your ReF: PBLP/8301Y7/68 Batch: 074/05/TR865
We happily announce to you the draw (#891) of the POWER BALL LOTTERY PROMO,online Sweepstakes
International program held on 18th August,2012.Your e-mail address attached to ticket number: 367600316 299 with
Serial number 9271/09 drew the lucky numbers: 14, 26, 41, 55, 59, (bonus no 1.),which subsequently won you
the lottery in the 2nd category i.e match5plus bonus.You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of
£600,000.00(Six hundred thousand pound sterling) in cash credited tofile VTZ/1967224603/07.This is from a total
cash prize of £4,800,000.00 shared amongs the(8) lucky winners in this category i.e Match 5 plus bonus.
All participants for the online version were selected randomly from World Wide Web sites through computer draw
system and extracted from over 100,000unions,associations, and corporate bodies that are listed online. This
promotion takes place weekly. Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our European booklet
representative office in Europe as indicated in your playcoupon.
In view of this, your £600,000.00(Six hundred thousand pound sterling) would be released to you by any of our
payment offices in Europe. Our european agent will immediately commence the process to facilitate the release of
your fundsas soon as you contact him or her. For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning
information confidential till your claims is processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you
deem fit to claim your prize. Thisis part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted
abuse of this program. Please be warned.
You are advise d to k eep this winning very confidential until you receive your lump prize in your account. This is a
protective measure to avoid double claiming by people that you may tell.
For further Information about your Winnings,contact our Lottery Claims Agentwith the following contact Address.
Name: Frederick Williams Higgins
Tel: +44 701 007 0357
Official Email: email@example.com
That way your winning certificate and all other relevant documents/paperwork can be prepared for you. You
would be required to show an instrument of identification when cashing your cheque i.e. Drivers license or
International passport.POWER BALL LOTTERY PROMO.
Please include your winning ticket number and your personal contact information,names, telephone and fax data
for the immediate processing of your claims All prizes must be claimed within three weeks.
NOTE: If you are under the age of 18, you are automatically disqualified for this star prize.
Mrs Rachael Porter
Online coordinator for POWER BALL LOTTERY
International Program 2012
N.B. Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the winners will result to disqualification. Contact your claims
agent whose contact details are stated above