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:
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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 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: "Visa USA Inc." <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Visa USA Inc." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2015 00:29:36 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE AWARDED PRIZE OF $2,000,000.00
DIVISION OF VISA LOTTERY AWARD
2000 Purchase Street
Purchase, NY 10577
REF NO: BTL/4910X1/15
BATCH NO: 12/25/0315
RE: VISA USA INC. PRIZE AWARD NOTIFICATION!
We humbly wish to inform you that you have awarded prize of Two Million United States Dollars ($2,000,000.00) for the yearly lottery promotion which was organized and sponsored by Visa USA Inc.
Visa USA Incorporated announced you as one of the 10 lucky winners in the ongoing Visa lottery program drawn from each ISP through Electronic Balloting System (EBS) without the candidate been applying. However, your email address attached this e-ticket number 564.756.005, with serial number 5388/08 has falling within our Africa representative center as indicate in your play coupon, which consequently won you the sum of $2,000,000.00 (Two Million United States Dollars) in the first random.
All participants were selected through Electronic Balloting System (EBS) hence no ticket was sold and you have therefore been approved for a lump sum of $2,000,000.00 (Two Million United States Dollars) in cash. Please be advice to keep your winning information confidential until your claims have been processed and your prize remitted to you. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program.
For verification and release of your winning, contact your claims officer via email or telephone below:
Contact Person: -------- Mr. Donald Thompson (Administrator)
E-mail Address: --------- email@example.com
Toll-Free Number: ---------------- 1-800-200-3515
You are to provide the below information to the Claims Officer to facilitate your payment with one of our recommended paying bank. Send your Identification numbers/your personal information immediately to our processing office.
Full Names: ___________________________________________
Contact Address: ______________________________________
Cell Phone: ___________________________________________
Country of Residence: __________________________________
All payment shall be made in full amount at same/instant moment through our paying bank without any reduction.
Note: All winnings must be claimed not later than 15 days upon receipt of this notification. After this deadline, any unclaimed prize will be returned to Visa USA Incorporation. Furthermore, should there be any change in your address, do inform your claims officer as soon as possible.
Congratulations!!! once again from all our staff here.
All winners shall be paid in accordance with his/her settlement center.
This offer is only available for you this season, now take the next step and claim your prize
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