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:
- "from the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- 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: Facebook <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2018 07:13:43 +0000
Subject: CONGRATULATIONS FROM FACEBOOK TEAM
Facebook Loyalty Reward Promotion!!!
From The Desk Of The President.
International Promotions / Prize Award.
Category : 2nd
Ref: BML / B528 / 11US.
The Entire Facebook team are very happy to inform you that your name appear on the FACEBOOK ONLINE INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY and we are giving out the total sum of US$650,000.00 (SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS) which is what you have just won.
This promotional program takes place every year and this years online draws was conducted at the Facebook headquarters in California. Your Facebook account was picked randomly by the CEO himself and your winnings reference number is BML/ B528 / 11US. For more info as regards your claims, contact agent Thomas Charlse of the claims department via this e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your full name, contact address and phone number.
As soon as he gets your email with the information stated above he will tell you on what next to do as regards the claiming and receiving of your winnings of US$650,000.00.
Thank you and More Congratulations.
Announcer for Facebook.
(Director of Comm./Public Affairs)