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:
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- ",000,000" (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)
- "email@example.com" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
- +447053839005 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: (sent from abused email account)
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 01:13:49 +0100
United Nations Development Programme
1 United Nations Plaza,
Good day, we announce to you the draw of our programs held on the 15th of July 2013 in London. Your e-mail address with serial number 5388/02 was drawn which subsequently won you the sweepstake in the 2nd category.
You have been approved to claim a total sum of ?8,000,000.00 GBP (Eight Million Great Britain Pounds) in cash credited to file RPC/9080118308/04 made available from a total cash prize of ?125 Million GBP. You were randomly selected for the online version from World Wide Web sites through a computer drawn system extracted from over 100,000 companies.
Please note that your email falls within our booklet representative office in Europe as indicated in our play coupon. In view of this, your ?8,000,000.00 GBP (Eight Million Great Britain Pounds) would be released to you by our affiliate bank in the United Kingdom as soon as you establish contact.
To file for your claim, contact our fiduciary agent via email, see details below;
AGENT: Stephen Summers
Phone: +44 705 383 9005
Remember to quote your reference information in all correspondence. You are to keep all information away from the general public especially your serial numbers. (This is important as a case of double claims will not be entertained). Members of affiliate agencies are automatically disapproved from participating in this program.
Congratulations from all members and staff.
United Nations Development Programme