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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "el gordo " (can only win this lottery if you bought a ticket)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "chambers" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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: "EL GORDO LOTO INTERNATIONAL" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 11 Dec 2016 20:21:53 -0800
Subject: FINAL AWARD WINNING PRIZE NOTIFICATION
EL GORDO LOTO INTERNATIONAL SWEEPSTAKES S.A.
Head office: C/ Caracas de Mayor #4-9, 28096, Madrid, Spain/España.
From: International Award Dept.
Reference Number: WB/2011/0018
Batch Number: BC-00067/5808
Attention: Lucky Winner.
FINAL AWARD WINNING PRIZE NOTIFICATION
We are pleased to inform you, the beneficiary whose name is on this mail , about the release of the awaited delayed result, of our international promotion sweepstakes program held on 20/06/16. The results were released on the 22/ 09/16. This program was designed to promote and encourage international participation in our high stake new year Spanish Sweepstakes.(INTERNATIONAL LOTTO COMMISSION) Names entered in the program were presented by ANDALUCIA VISTA S.A in conjunction with a group of philanthropist, humanitarian organisations, and also with the help of chambers of commerce and industries and countries with high commission in Spain.Using a computer balloting selection system from all names submitted for the program, your name with ticket number 76494 won in the 3 category, and was awarded the sum of 815,810.00 (EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN THOUSAND, EIGHT HUNDRED AND TEN EUROS ONLY),