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:
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- ",500,000" (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)
- "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 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 (Hotmail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Ms. Englert" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 04 Jun 2017 14:12:14 -0400
Subject: BMW LOTTERY DEPARTMENT
BMW LOTTERY DEPARTMENT 5070 WILSHIRE BLVD LOS ANGELES. CA 90036 UNITED STAT=
ES OF AMERICA. NOTE: If you received this message in your SPAM/JUNK folder,=
that is because of the restrictions implemented by your Internet Service P=
rovider, we (BMW) urge you to treat it genuinely. Dear (email@example.com)=
, This is to inform you have been selected for a prize of a brand new 2015=
/2016 Model BMW 7 Series Car and a Cheque of $1,500,000.00 USD from the int=
ernational balloting programs held on the 2nd section in the UNITED STATE O=
F AMERICA. Description of prize vehicle; Model: 760Li Color (exterior): Met=
allic Silver Mileage: 5 Transmission: Automatic 6 Speed Options: Cold weath=
er package, premium package, fold down rear seats w/ski bag, am fm stereo w=
ith single in dash compact disc player. The selection process was carried o=
ut through random selection in our computerized email selection system (ESS=
) from a database of over 250,000 email addresses drawn from all the contin=
ents of the world which you were selected. The BMW Lottery is approved by t=
he British Gaming Board and also licensed by the International Association =
of Gaming Regulators (IAGR).To begin the processing of your prize you are t=
o contact our fiduciary claims department for more information as regards p=
rocedures to claim your prize. Fiduciary Agent: Mr. Steve Mark Contact Emai=
l: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact him by providing him with your secret p=
in code Number BMW:255175HGDY03/23.As the subject of your email for swift r=
esponse You are also advised to provide him with the under listed informati=
on as soon as possible: 1. Name In Full : 2. Residential Address : 3. Natio=
nality : 4. Age : 5. Sex 6. Occupation : 7. Direct Phone : 8. Present Count=
ry : 9. Email address : 10. pin code Number BMW:255175HGDY03/23 Note that y=
ou have to send email to Mr.Steve Mark . You are to provide him with the ab=
ove listed details as soon as possible so he can begin with the processing =
of your prize winnings. Ms Englert. --------------------- THE DIRECTOR PROM=
OTIONS BMW LOTTERY DEPARTMENT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA=20