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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Coca Cola" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2013 11:58:25 +0100
Subject: WE ARE SO HAPPY FOR YOU
Dear Lucky Winner,
We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Coca-Cola Online season Winners International programs held in London.
Your E-mail address attached to ticket No: UK58729CCC, which subsequently won you the lottery in the 3rd category. You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of $3.500,000.00(Three Million Five Hundred United States Dollars).
Because of mix up in cash pay-outs, we ask that you keep your winning information confidential until your winning prize is fully remitted to you. You are advised to adhere to this instruction so as to forestall the abuse of this program by other participants.
To avoid unnecessary delays and complications, you are to contact Mr. Richard Nelson with followings details below:
1. Your full name, telephone, contact address and
2. Quote your Ticket number in any correspondences
With us or our designated agent.
Congratulations, once more from all members and staffs of this program. Thank you for being part of our promotional lottery program.
YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONTACT Mr RICHARD NELSON USING THIS EMAIL ID FOR YOUR CLAIM AGE DIRECTLY: email@example.com
Mrs Pokey Mckunge
Coca Cola Lottery International