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:
- 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")
- "million pounds" (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)
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this email address has been used in a known scam)
- 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.
- +447012933191 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- +447005968749 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
Fraud email example:
From: "Apex Foundation" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 10:36:31 +0800
Subject: Please Claim Your Prize
Dear Internet User,
The big prizes have not been claimed and according to record your email ID was listed among the winners who are yet to recieve their award prize. Your email ID won the total sum of GBP1, 000.000.00 (One Million Pounds Sterling) during the electronic E-mail online Powerball Draws For Internet Users but most of the prize remain unclaimed so we are contacting you to apply for the claim of your prize money but if the prizes are not claimed within 30 days (around 1 months) of this notification, they will go to Apex Foundation Projects inline with our code of conduct.
You are advised to contact the claims department immediately to redeem your prize.
Mr. Robert Benz
Fax: +44 7005968749
International prize Department
You are required to send the below information to the claim agent to process your award winnig prize.
1. Full name:
3. Contact Address:
4. Telephone Number:
5. Marital Status:
The claim agent will attennd to your claim upon the reciept of your response.
User Award Promotion Team