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:
- 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")
- "hundred thousand united states 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)
- ",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 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: "Mr.Davide Aram" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2013 06:53:46 +0100
Subject: Call for your confirmation
Dear Email Owner,
We are pleased to inform you again of the result of the Internet Promotional Draws. All email addresses entered for this promotional draws were randomly inputted from an internet resource database using the Synchronized Random Selection System (SRSS).
This is our second letter to you.After this automated computer ballot,your email address was selected in Category A with Ref Number: LT/559IT/2013 and E-Ticket Number:442-7383,this qualifies you to be the recipient of the grand prize award sum of (US$2,500,000.00) Two Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars.
The payout of this cash prize to you will be subject to the final validations and satisfactory report that you are the bona fide owner of the winning email address. In line with the governing rules of claim, you are required to establish contact with your designated claims agent via email or telephone with the particulars below:
Enquiry Officer: Mr.Davide Aram
Phone: +39 328 367 9158
You may establish contact with the Enquiry Officer via the e-mail address above with the information's necessary:
Ref Number and E-Ticket Number.
All winnings must be claimed within 14 days from today. After this date all unclaimed funds would be included in the next stake. Remember to quote your reference information in all correspondence with your claims agent. You are advised to keep all lotto information away from the general public especially your Reference and E- Ticket Numbers. (This is important as a case of double claims will not be entertained).