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:
- "will come to you as a surprise" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "million 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)
- ",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)
- "deadline" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Micro Team" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 02:13:10 +0300 (EEST)
Subject: Letter of confirmation
Microsoft 2014 Announcement
It is obvious that this notification will come to you as a surprise as we
congratulate you over your success in the official publication of results
in the e-MAIL electronic online Sweepstakes Lottery organized by Microsoft
Corporation in conjunction with the Microsoft Software Donations.
Microsoft is proud to work with more than 50,000 nonprofits around the
world every year to provide them with affordable access to the technology
they need to support their work in local communities, and to leverage
technology to help them be more efficient, effective and innovative in
doing their important work. Whether it is through our software products
donations, technology solutions for nonprofit problems, or Office 365 for
Nonprofits, we strive to help nonprofits do more good in the U.S and all
over the world.
Your e-MAIL ID as selected has won a cash donation of US$1,000,000.00 (One
million United States Dollars) only. Quickly confirm the receipt of this
award with your winning particulars attached to File Number: F1267-2014,
Ref. Code: KP23/857/MCL4/CO and, Selected Serial Number:
MICC/97846563459/14 for your verification and payment. To claim your award
prize, please contact the authorized Payment Office in London - United
Kingdom before the deadline stipulations;
Microsoft Software Donations Team:
Dr. Peter Adams (Head, operations)
Tel: 44 745 976 6474
Congratulations from the management of Microsoft Corporation and for more
details on Microsoft Software Donations please view:
Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO)