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:
- 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:
- "fiduciary agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "BMW AUTOMOBILE" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 30 May 2018 01:56:46 +0800
Subject: Re: BMW 2018 Prestigious Award..
Dear BMW Enthusiast,
This is to inform you, that you have been selected for selected for a prize of a brand new 2018 BMW 7 Series Sedan 760Li xDrive and a BMW Gold Card of $800,000.00US Dollars from our international balloting programs held on this day May 25, 2018.
The selection process was carried out through random selection in our computerized email selection system (ESS) from a database of over 250,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world which you were selected.
The BMW Lottery is approved by the British Gaming Board and also licensed by the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR). To begin with the claim processing of your prize, you are to contact our fiduciary claims agent for more information as regards, with procedures to claim your prize.
Fiduciary Agent: Mr. Scott Daniel Jr.
Contact Email: email@example.com
Contact him by providing him with your secret pin code Number BMW:2551256003/760Li. As the subject of your email for swift response. You are also advised to provide him with the under listed information as soon as possible:
1. Name In Full :
2. Residential Address :
3. Age :
4. Occupation :
5. Direct Phone :
6. Provisional Email address: