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:
- "claims office" (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)
- 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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs.Sarah Gwan" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2017 03:31:53 -0700
Subject: End of Year Promotion....Congrats
This is to inform you that your email address has won the Lotto24 Email Megapool lottery in the ongoing end of year promotion which was held last week.Your email with serial number 588988/02 and ticket number:564 75600545 9188 hit the jackpot.You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of $960,000.00(Nine Hundred and sixty Thousand Dollars) in cash credited to file PC/9080118308/02/SHYN. This is from a total cash prize of $9.8 Million Dollars shared among the first fifty (12) lucky winners in this category.
In the 2nd category you are advised to keep this notice to yourself because of double claims.If by any chance a second cliam is filed with you winning information the prize funds will be voided.You are advised to contact with your claims Officer with your NAME, D.O.B and Mobile tell# Occupation# to e-mail ID: email@example.com for more details on claims procedure within 72 hours of reading this mail.
AFRO-ASIAN Zonal Coordinator.