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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "uk national lottery" (can only win this lottery if you bought a ticket)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "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!
Fraud email example:
From: "International Association of Gaming Regulators Board U.K." (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 12:16:24 -0800
Subject: International Association of Gaming Regulators Board U.K
Good day to you,
This is to inform you that the Board of International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) and the UK National Lottery resolved in the last security vote meeting to promptly pay your lottery winnings won years past - an outstanding entitlement of US$950,000 [Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand US Dollars] only.
The board and committee members are aware that you never received your payment draft, and it has since been reverted into an Automated Teller Machine Debit Master Card payment in your name.
The ATM card was deposited at Visual Finance and Security House Los Angeles, California USA to be delivered to you at your earliest convenience. You will have to contact the contracted security firm with custody of your ATM card.
In your best interest, I advise that you decline the acceptance of emails, fax or telephone calls that do not originate from the Visual FINANCE & SECURITY HOUSE - USA
This firm has been contracted to deliver the ATM card to you. Contact the supervisor addressed below for further information on how to receive your card.
VISUAL FINANCE & SECURITY HOUSE
Contact Name: Gerald Mason
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: They are waiting to receive your instruction so they can deliver the ATM Card to your address as you may designate.
THIS IS NOT A LOTTERY PROGRAM.
Sir Anthony Mark
International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) - UK
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