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:
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "to your nominated bank account" (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!
- 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.
- 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: "Lotto Winner" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2016 08:54:57 +0700
FROM: THE DESK OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPT
REF NO: SP/25512839215/11
BATCH NO: 1701/14098/SPN
FINAL AWARD NOTIFICATION
We are pleased to inform you about the release today 11-08-2016 of the EUROMILLONES SWEEPSTAKE LOTTERY/ HIGHSTAKE INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM held on 26th of August 2016. Your name was attached to the ticket number 135 - 12584992 - 950 with serial number 2163 - 08 drew the lucky numbers 13 - 15 - 20 - 37 - 39 - 49 which consequently won the lottery in the 3rd category.
You have therefore been approved for a lump sum payout of US$ 1,050,000.00 (ONE MILLION AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ONLY) in cash credited to file REF.NO: SP/25512839215/11.This is from a total cash prize of $17,850,000.00 (SEVENTEEN MILLION, EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND, DOLLARS ONLY) shared among the seventeen international winners in this category.
Your fund is now deposited with CAIXA BANK insured in your name. Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award from public notice until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your nominated bank account, as this is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unwarranted participants taking advantage of this program. All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 25,000 names, from USA, Canada, Asia, New Zealand, Europe And Africa as part of our end of year international program, which we conduct once every year. To begin your claim, please contact your claim agent with fill out the payment form below:
Mr. Javier Sanchez
Tele: +34 631 35 46 77
Fax: +34 917 903 836
For processing and remittance of your prize money to a designated account of your choice. Remember, all prize money must be claimed not later than 25th of september 2016.After this date all funds will be returned to the MINISTERIO DE ECONOMIA Y HACIENDA as unclaimed prize. Also, for your information, 0.5% of your winning funds belongs to your claim agent as a part of their commission, only after when you have received your funds in your designated bank account.
JOSE MARIA REMIG
FILL THIS FORM AND SEND WITH YOUR IDENTIFICATION TO YOUR CLAIM AGENT
PAYMENT PROCESSING FORM
NAME OF BENEFICIARY...
DATE OF BIRTH..
PAYMENT OPTIONS: (1) BANK TRANSFER (2) CERTIFIED CHEQUE