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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Lotto Award Team" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2012 05:36:36 +0100
Subject: WINNING NUMBER: OL/656/033/16
ONLINE LOTTO AND GAMING CORPORATION
LAAN VAN HOORNWIJCK 55
2289 DG RIJSWIJK THE NETHERLANDS
MONTH OF NOVEMBER ONLINE LOTTO AND GAMING CORPORATION.
WINNING NUMBER: OL/656/033/16
OUR DEAR WINNER,
YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS HAS WON THE SUM OF (ONE MILLION EURO) FROM ONLINE LOTTO AND GAMING CORPORATION, ALL PARTICIPANTS E-MAIL ADDRESSES WERE SELECTED THROUGH MICROSOFT COMPUTER BALLOTING SYSTEM FROM WHICH YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS CAME OUT AS THE WINNING COUPON, AND THIS PROGRAM IS SPONSORED BY THE EUROPEAN UNION AS PART OF INTERNATIONAL E-MAIL PROMOTION PROGRAM TO ENCOURAGE THE USE OF THE INTERNET AND PROMOTE COMPUTER LITERACY WORLDWIDE.
WE THEREBY CONTACT YOU TO CLAIM YOUR WINNING AMOUNT QUICKLY AS THIS IS A MONTHLY LOTTERY. FAILURE TO CLAIM YOUR WINNING WILL RESULT INTO THE REVERSION OF OUR FOLLOWING MONTH LOTTERY. (THE EXPIRATION DATE IS 30TH OF NOVEMBER, 2012. PLEASE CONTACT OUR APPROVED AGENT BELOW WITH YOUR WINNING NUMBER ABOVE.
ONLINE LOTTO AND GAMING CORPORATION AGENCY.
MRS. ANA PAULA FILIPE.
(DIRECTOR OF WINNING CLAIMS DEPARTMENT).
WARNING: FOR SECURITY REASONS YOUR WINNING PRIZE IS NOT TO BE DISCUSS WITH ANYONE UNTILL YOU RECEIVE YOUR WINNING PRIZE BY OUR PAYING BANK TO AVOID DISQUALIFICATION THAT MAY ARISE FROM WINNING DOUBLE CLAIM.
MRS. LILLIAN KROON.