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:
- ",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)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Google U.K Dept" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2017 17:32:14 -0800
Subject: Congratulation email@example.com
Belgrave House 76 Buckingham Palace Road London SW1W 9TQ, United Kingdom. W=
inning No: GUK/877/798/2017 Ticket No: GUK/699/33/2017 Notification: Januar=
y/February 2017. GOOGLE ANNUAL PROMOTION We wish to congratulate yo=
u on this note, for being part of our selected winners in our just conclude=
d internal promotion draw this year, this promotion was set-up to encourage=
the active users of the Google search engine and the Google ancillary serv=
ices. Hence we do believe with your winning prize, you will continue to=
be an active patronage to the Google search engine and services. Google is=
now the biggest search engine worldwide and in an effort to make sure that=
it remains the most widely used search engine, we ran an online e-mail bet=
a draw which your email address won One million Great British Pounds Sterli=
ng (=A31,000,000.00). We wish to formally announce to you that you have suc=
cessfully passed the requirements, statutory obligations, verifications, va=
lidations and satisfactory report Test conducted for all online winners. =
A winning check will be issued in your name by Google Promotion Award; fo=
r the sum of One million Great British Pounds Sterling (=A31,000,000.00) an=
d also a certificate of prize claims will be sent alongside your winning ch=
eck cashable at any bank. You are advised to contact the assigned Googl=
e Program Administrator/Coordinator with the following details to avoid unn=
ecessary delay and complications: VERIFICATION AND FUNDS RELEASE FORM F=
ull Name: Contact Address/Private Email Address: (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tel/F=
ax Numbers: Nationality/Country: Occupation/Company: Age/Gender: Ever Won A=
n Online Lottery? A scanned copy of your I.D Card or Driver=2019s License i=
s needed for identification. Comments about Google? Contact the bel=
ow person of: Patrick Pichette - Google Senior Fellow (Program Administrato=
r/Coordinator) Email: email@example.com Google values your right to pr=
ivacy! Your information is 100% secured and will be used exclusively for th=
e purpose of this award only. The Google Promotion Award Team has disco=
vered a huge number of double claims due to winners informing close friends=
relatives and third parties about their winning and also sharing their pin=
numbers. As a result of this, these friends try to claim the lottery on be=
half of the real winners. The Google Promotion Award Team has reached a dec=
ision from its headquarters that any double claim discovered by the Lottery=
Board will result to the canceling of that particular winning, leading to =
a loss for both the double claimer and the real winner, as it is taken that=
the real winner was the informer to the double claimer about the lottery. =
So you are hereby strongly advised once more to keep your winnings strictly=
confidential until you claim your prize. Congratulations from the staf=
f & members of the google interactive Lotteries Board Commission. Yours=
Faithfully. Pichai Sundararajan. Chief Executive Officer Google Inc.