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:
- 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 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.
- email@example.com (Superposta; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Anita RXdiger" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2012 00:10:14 +0300 (EEST)
Subject: OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION.
Your Winning Batch No: POK/LTY/2901
Your Winning Reference No: GFMS/600/3011
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 August 2012, in Madrid Spain. Where in your email address emerged as one of the online Winning emails in the 2nd category and therefore attracted a cash award of 350,000.00 euro (Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Euros Only) and a Toshiba laptop. To begin your claim, do file for the release of your winning by contacting our Foreign Transfer Manager:
Mr. James Marshall
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. Anita Rüdiger ,