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")
- "million dollars" (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)
- ",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)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Darren Gilmore X" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2017 16:04:18 +0100
Subject: IS NOT A DREAM
IS NOT A DREAM
From the Euro Millions Foundation, in assistance with the North America lottery, we happily announce to you that we have confirmed your prize award of $33,000,000.00 at the International settlement Payment Center. Your Recorded Reference Number is: REF:127/EXD131/7D41. Your name is shortlisted among the few lucky winners of the Euro million played against the Government Public Record of your country.
You are entitled to the sum of $33,000,000.00 (Thirty Three Million Dollars) Payable to you by BANK INSTRUMENT in your name and will be delivered to you Via NEXT DAY FEDEX/DHL shipping courier company to your home address or issue you the Visa Card or MasterCard Electronic Bank ATM in your name. Which you can withdraw, $10.000.00 daily limit in any ATM in the world.
You are therefore advised to contact our Oversea Subscribers Agent (O.S.A) in United Kingdom to reconfirm your home address for delivery of your prize and to issue the certificate of prize award and other document related to your winnings.
CLAIM AGENT: Darren Gilmore,