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:
- "the required fees" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "to your nominated bank account" (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)
- ",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)
- 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 (AOL; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "FACEBOOK" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2017 05:13:08 +1100
Subject: RE: INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY WINNINGS
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Office of Consumer & Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20801
RE: INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY WINNINGS
We are officially informing you that it has come to our notice and we have thoroughly completed an Investigation with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you legally won the sum of $1,500,000.00 US Dollars from the U.K. Mega Millions Lottery® draw held on Friday through an online balloting system. During our investigation it was discovered that tickets are assigned to email marketing lists donated from marketing companies here in the United States and around the world on behalf of all email account holders that are currently subscribed to newsletters and advertisements. Therefore your email address won you the Lottery from the online balloting system. The issue was brought before the board and we authorized this winning to be authentic and to be transferred to you electronically. Typically, it will take up to 20 business days for an international transfer to be processed in the United States, so we ordered the lottery board to have funds remitted direc
tly to y
ou from a bank registered
FACEBOOK ONLINE INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY for the year 2017 with the lucky number (FB-225-7736) so we need your fast response so that we can proceed with the claim process of your winnings.
Your name was selected by Mr Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of Facebook (Founder & amp Chief Executive Officer ). The promotion was made to make all Facebook users to benefit from the profit the company made while they use Facebook.
Facebook is the first and ever largest means of meeting both old and new friends.The promo was done to serve as a means of appreciation to visitors on our site and also to help people to fight off poverty and to maintain a good standard of living.
Kindly contact Mrs JUDY HART the General secretary of the FACEBOOK TEAM and appointed as your claims officer via this email (email@example.com) immediately with the following information about you below:
(iii)Private Mobile Number:
We have completed this investigation and you are hereby approved to receive the winning prize immediately as we have verified the entire transaction to be Legitimate, Safe and 100% risk free. Due to the fact that the funds were transferred to the United States from an international location, it is 100% Tax-Free, which means the funds are bonded and nothing can be deducted from it before you make your transfer. According to our records and because of the tax-free-no-deduction policy, you are required to settle the following bills for authorization directly to your lottery claims agent in charge of this transaction before you can transfer the funds to yourself: Cost of EFT Transfer & Conversion Fee.
The total amount is $398 (Three Hundred and Ninety Eight United States Dollars). We have tried our possible best to have the lottery organization deduct the $398 from your lottery winning but the funds have already been deposited at the bank and cannot be accessed by anyone apart from you (the winner), again due to the Tax-Free-No-Deduction policy. Therefore you have to pay the required fees to your lottery claims agent in charge of this transaction. You will be granted instant access to your account with National State Bank where your $1,500,000 was deposited and you can request a check, credit/debit card or make a transfer out to your nominated bank account.
In order to claim your $1,500,000.00, here are your Winning Numbers: 9-45-70-33-16-(8). Go to the UK Mega Millions Lottery website: http://us.megamilly.com/index/log/index.html to check your numbers then fill in and submit the "Claims Processing Form". As soon as your form is received a claims agent will be in contact with you.
This letter and the seal above will serve as proof that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is authorizing you to pay the required $398 to the UK Mega Millions Lottery® by means they provide you with. Once again this lottery has been VERIFIED and is under our 24hr surveillance every step of the way.
To avoid multiple claims of your lottery winnings, please keep your Winning Numbers safe and away from 2nd or 3rd parties.
****** A copy of your winning ticket is going to be sent to you as proof of authenticity ******
Christopher A. Wray
Federal Bureau of Investigation