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:
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "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)
- "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)
- "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: shell.BP.company <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2016 18:49:36 +0530
Subject: SHELL WINNER 2016
SHELL PETROLEUM INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY
FROM: THE DESK OF THE PROMOTIONS MANAGER.
PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT.
BATCH #: SLSA-0385-SHI
TICKET #: 4278-8845-284
Reference Number #: 73284294SA
This is to inform you that you have won a prize money of One Million Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (USD$1,200,000.00) for the month of March/April, 2016 Prize promotion which is organized by SHELL PETROLEUM COMPANY.
SHELL collects all the email addresses of the people that are active online,among the millions that subscribed to various websites. Six people are selected yearly to benefit from this promotion and you are one of the Selected Winners.
PAYMENT OF PRIZE AND CLAIM
International Certified Cheque
Winners must provide the below stated information:
(1) Your Full Name
(2) Your Complete Mailing Address
Below you will find a Processing Form, requesting your required Particulars. Please provide all requested information to help us process your claim in good time.
SHELL ONLINE PROCESSING FORM
Forms Should be returned to our claims/payment department with required details.
All funds must be claimed no later than 15 days from date of Draw Notification. Any prize not claimed within this period will be forfeited. Stated above are your identification numbers:
CONGRATULATIONS ONCE AGAIN
FR Alexzander Thompson
President SHELL PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY (SPDC)