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:
- "greater london" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- ",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)
- 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.
- +447045718306 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
- claims information). agent name: mr. west brown email: firstname.lastname@example.org email: email@example.com tel: +447045718306 these (Gmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "SWISS-LOTTO PROMO" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2014 14:21:08 +0100
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU HAVE WON USD$1,000,000.00.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU HAVE WON USD$1,000,000.00
101 WIGMORE STREET LONDON,
GREATER LONDON WIU,
As part of our Lottery Awareness Bonanza for year 2014, Today being 4th October, 2014 we just carried out "ACTIVE EMAIL ADDRESSES" computer draws in some regions. Note that the computer draws were based strictly and randomly on active email addresses of users that never played our lotteries this year.
Your email address was amongst those chosen this year for the SWISS-LOTTO Satellite lottery. And this promotional program is proudly sponsored by the SWISS-LOTTO organization.
You have won one Million USA dollars (US$1 Million) only. Your email address attached to Ref number 5, 7, 14, 17, 18, 43 with Serial 10, and consequently won the lottery in the "A" Category. You have therefore been approved the lump sum pay out of USD$1,000,000.00.
Winning Number: MML-43668 drew the lucky. This makes you an international winner in your region. For details, guidance and processing of your payment, please contact the Claims/Processing Officer,
MR. WEST BROWN by email immediately (quoting your WINNING NUMBER,REF. NUMBER,SERIAL NUMBER AND PERSONAL CLAIMS INFORMATION).
Agent name: Mr. West Brown
These details facilitates the due process and the release of winnings to avoid unnecessary delays and complications in the processing of your Winnings.
Note: all winnings MUST be claimed before the 20th October, 2014 otherwise all funds will be returned as Unclaimed and eventually donated to charity organizations.
Congratulations once more from all members and staff of this program.
Mrs. Sarah V an Norris
Online Games Director