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:
- 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:
- "fiduciary 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.
- +447012957312 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: Shell petroleum Awards winning <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2012 08:11:09 -0700
Subject: SHELL PETROLEUM 2012 AWARDS NOTIFICATION!!!
Shell Petroleum Development Company.
Shell Centre, London, SE1 7NA
REFERENCE NUMBER: SPDCUK/7420X3/12
This is to inform you that you have won a prize money of One Million, Three Hundred and Sixteen Thousand, Eighteen Great Britain Pounds Sterling (?1,316,018.00 GBP Pounds) for the 2012 International E-mail Draw which is Organized by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
SPDC collects all the email addresses of people that are active online, among the millions that subscribe to Yahoo, Aol, Walla, Gmail, Hotmail, African, Asian, Caribbean, European, North and South American emails and few from other e-mail service providers. Thirty Six people are selected yearly to benefit from this promotion and you are one of the Selected Winners for 2012.
PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND CLAIM
Winners shall be paid in accordance with their Regional Settlement Centres. Shell Awards must be claimed not later than 7 days from the date of Draw Notification. Any Prize not claimed within this period will be forfeited as unclaimed funds.
Stated below is your claim identification reference number:
REFERENCE NUMBER: SPDCUK/7420X3/12
This unique reference number falls within the United Kingdom Regional Payment centre. You are therefore requested to contact our fiduciary agent in London [Mr. Barrie Parsons] with the details below and send your winning identification numbers to him along with all the required information stated below.
HOW TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE:
Send your reference number stated above, your full names, address and telephone numbers to our head office department via email.
Contact person: Mr. Barrie Parsons
He shall immediately commence the process that will facilitate the release of your funds to you. Congratulations once again.
Shell Awards 2012.