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:
- ",500,000" (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)
- "00,000.00" (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 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: "POWERBALL LOTTERY PROMOTION 2012" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2012 15:35:34 -0500
Subject: Re: Your Email has won
POWERBALL LOTTERY PROMOTION 2012
170, Braxton court,
Four ways, east gate
Reference Number ZAR/2324514325/2012
Batch number: CGA/2012/SA
We are pleased to inform you of the final announcement that you are one of our winners of the POWERBALL Lottery international programs. The
online cyber lotto draws was conducted from an exclusive list of 21,000 e-mail addresses. After this automated computer ballot, your e-mail
address emerged as one of three winners in the category "A" with the following winning information: You have therefore been approved to claim a
total sum of US$1,500,000.00 (one Million five hundred thousand dollars).
However no previous notification is given before your email address was picked for this lottery. Generally email address are picked, the draws
are processed by the computer through a special program that is special designed for this lottery, the program is known as Random Access
This software picks email addresses from the internet and through a random process, picks the winners through their email address.
CLAIMING OF PRIZE
1) Your full names:
2) Your address:
3) Telephone and Fax numbers:
4} youre Date of Birth:
6} youre Batch NO: Ref NO:
To claim your cash prize please contact the lottery manager.MR. BONGANI THOMAS immediately
Contact: Mr. Bongani Thomas