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:
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "hundred thousand 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)
- ",500,000" (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)
- "very confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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: "Michigan Online Lottery." (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:57:07 +0530
Subject: Dear Winner in the Michigan Online Lottery,
Michigan Online Lottery.
101 E. Hillsdale,
Lansing, Michigan 48933,
United States of America.
Dear Winner in the Michigan Online Lottery,
We wish to congratulate you over your email success in our computer balloting sweepstake held on 10th November 2014. This is a millennium scientific computer game in which email addresses were used. It is a promotional program aimed at encouraging internet users; therefore you do not need to buy ticket to enter for it. Your winning ticket number is 35-38-18-24-37 with Batch numbers BTD/008002/12 drew the lucky numbers 2-4-4-2-67 which consequently won the draw in the Second category.
You have been approved for the star prize of One Million and Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars ($1,500,000.00)
You are advised to keep this winning very confidential until you receive your lump prize via Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or optional cheque issuance to you. This is a protective measure to avoid double claiming by people you may tell as we have had cases like this before, please send your Your full Name Your Address Home/Cell Phone and Preferred Payment Method (ATM / Cashier Check) and your winning ticket number, reference numbers and amount won information for processing of your winning fund to our registered claim agent in address below.
NOTE: For None Appearance, Do Not Contact Mr. Isa Burke Bright, if you can not pay for the cost of delivery and Kindly Reconfirm
Name: Mr. Isa Burke Bright
Contact direct line: (231) 366-2069
Remember, all winning must be claimed not later than 20th December, 2014. Please note, in order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, remember to quote your winning ticket number and batch number in all correspondence. Furthermore, should there be any change of address do inform our agent as soon as possible.
Mrs. Emily Simon,
Online Lottery Coordinator.
The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to whom or which it is addressed. Unauthorized use, disclosure or copying is strictly prohibited. The sender accepts no liability for the improper transmission of this communication or for any delay in its receipt.