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")
- "million united state dollars" (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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: CONGRATULATIONS DEAR WINNER! <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 21:33:28 +0300 (FET)
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS DEAR WINNER!
Congratulations you have won US$1,000.000.00 (one Million United State Dollars) on SOUTH AFRICA compensation charity program, your email address was selected from a computer ballot draw that was held by FIFA committee in conjunction with South Africa 2010 and the upcoming 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP in Brazil,football association.
We wish to congratulate you on your victory; winners shall be paid in accordance with his/her settlement center. Stated below are your
Batch number: 18/006/1094/lipda/sl,
Reference number: lli/240142/011,
Pin: 20014, file number: flie//5612/1364.
Security code: SA201JB,
FILL THE DETAILS REQUESTED:
1. YOUR FULL NAME
2. YOUR COUNTRY NAME
3. MOBILE NUMBER
5. FAX NUMBER
6. PASSPORT COPY OR ID
7. BATCH NUMBER
8. REFERENCE NUMBER
9. PIN NUMBER
10. FILE NUMBER
11. SECURITY CODE
12. DATE OF BIRTH
You are advised to contact our local agent who is your claims agent for more
details and pay out of your won prize.
Claims agent contact details below:
Mr. James Morgan
You are to contact the above claims agent as soon as you receive this email
with claim Reference number, Batch Number Pin Number and your security Code otherwise your prize will be canceled.
Congratulations once again from members and staffs of this organization.