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:
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- ",000,000" (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)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: INTERNATIONAL LOTTO COMMISSION <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2012 23:57:54 +0300 (EEST)
Subject: CONTACT YOUR AGENT !!
INTERNATIONAL LOTTO COMMISSION(ILO)
(AFFILIATED WITH ONCE ESPA?A)
Loter?a del Rosario Romano, Carrera San Jer?nimo, 17,28014, Madrid - Spain
FROM: THE DESK OF MANAGING DIRECTOR
CLAIM FILE NUMBER: G/008005160090
BATCH NUMBER: 110000477
ATTENTION: STAKE WINNER,
AWARD NOTIFICATION FINAL NOTICE
We are pleased to inform you of the release of the EURO MILLION LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM Held on the 1st of AUGUST 2012,from our Online free E-mail electronic lottery promotion of people from all over the world using yahoo mail,Hotmail, AOL.com,web mails etc; which are all extracted yearly and winners are selected randomly from an automatic electronic raffle draw in which six lucky winners emerges monthly from around the globe.
Your E-mail attached to the ticket number 055-01-464-992-880 drew the lucky numbers 7-21-23-24-44-3 -4, which consequently won the lottery in the 3rd category. You have therefore been approved for a lump Sum Pay of 5,000,000 (FIVE MILLION EUROS ONLY) in Cash. To begin your claim, please contact your claims agent for processing and release of your Fund.
NAME: Wayne Jack
NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delay and complications, please remember to quote your REF and BATCH numbers to your Claims Agent.
MRS. LUCIA MANUEL
(Lottery Announcer )