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:
- "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)
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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!
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Patrick Poulsen"<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 14:01:33 -0300
UK LOTTERY ORGANIZATION
P.O Box 1010 Liverpool L70 1NL United Kingdom
REGIONAL FREE TICKET/ONLINE WINNING DEPARTMENT
Hornweg 60, 1044 AN Amsterdam, Netherlands.
AWARD NOTIFICATION/FINAL NOTICE
If you are the correct owner of this email address, then be glad this day as the result of the UK lotto online e-mail winning draws and sweepstakes held in Amsterdam - Netherlands on the 19th of January 2015 has just been released.
All participants were selected randomly from worldwide website through computer draw system and extracted from over 100,000.00 companies.
You are to contact (ROVEL EXPRESS COURIER SERVICE) on the below email address for quick delivery of your 4,600,000.00 winnings cheque. All winners' cheque are certified and are cash able in any country of any continent.
To enable the Courier Company ascertain you as the rightful receiver of the certified cheque, YOU MUST INCLUDE the below listed information in your contact email to them:
*** Your full names, telephone and mobile numbers
*** Address where you wish to receive your winning cheque
*** Amount won, Sex, Age
Occupation/job title, date/venue of draw.
MR. THOMAS LUUK (Director of Operations and Logistics)
ROVEL Express (Netherlands B.V.) Telephone: +31 (687) 063-662
Arena Boulevard 19, 1101 AX Amsterdam, PO Box 12523, 1100
Email Address: email@example.com
Congratulations from all staff members of UK.L.O and we thank you for being part of email account users program.
MR. PATRICK POULSEN
UK Lottery Organization.
MR. PHILIP WALKER (Head, Legal Team), BARRISTER MRS. FELICIA GOMEZ (Secretary, Legal Department), MR. STITSON DAVID (Online Operations Coordinator), MR. STEWART JEROME (Online Coordinator), SIR. ALFRED WILLIAMS (Executive), MRS. YVONNE LAMBERT (Executive), MR. NICOLAS HENDERSON (Executive), SIR. DAVID HANKS (Chairman).
Copyright © 2014 United Kingdom Lottery Organization.