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 phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "foreign service manager" (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)
- "keep it confidential" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a 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.
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "SPANISH LOTTERY" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 19 May 2017 04:48:09 -0700
Subject: WINNERS ALART-121.82
International Lotto Promotion Commission
AVDA. ROSARIO DIAZ 23, PLANTA 4,
PUERTA B 28288 MADRID - SPAIN
CLAIM FILE NUMBER:EG/0084/5170024
We are pleased to inform you today of the release of SPANISH SWEEPSTAKE LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM held on the first quarter 2017.
Your email attached to ticket number 002-77-888428-045-1334 drew the luck numbers 09-13-17-29-33-41 that consequently won the lottery in the 3rd category.You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay of $1,816,900.00 (One Million, Eight Hundred And Sixten Thousand,Nine Hundered United States Dollars Only) in cash credited to file ref number EG/0084/5170024.
This is from a total cash prize of $25,750,966.00 (Twenty five million, Seven hundred and fifty thousand, nine hundred and sixty six united states dollars only) shared among international winners in this second quarter promotion. Your fund is now deposited with a finance company insured in your favour.
Note that your claim and batch number are the key to your fund, keep it confidential until your claim has been processed and fund remitted to your account as this is part of our protocol to avoid double claiming or unwarranted taking of advantage of this program by participants.
All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 25,000.000 email address from Europe America Africa and Asia as part of our international promotion program that we conduct quarterly every year.
We hope with part of your prize, you will take part in our next high stake USD 1.3 billion international lottery program.
To begin this claim, contact your claim agent ATTN:OSCAR GARCIA GONZALEZ, Foreign Service Manager UNION EXCEL SECURITIES S A on Tel:+34 602 583 128 Email:email@example.com for processing and remittance of your money to a designated account of your choice.
Remember all prize money must be claimed not later than 21 working days from the date of receipt of your reply, after this date all funds will be returned to the Ministerio De Economia Y Hacienda as unclaimed.
In order to avoid unnecessary delay and complications, please remember to quote your Reference and Batch numbers in every of your correspondence with your agent.
Congratulation once again and thank you for being part of our promotion program.
Ms Anna Aguirre