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:
- "dear sir/madam" (a standard Nigerian greeting phrase)
- ",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)
- 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.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2018 13:11:45 -1200
Subject: Urgent Respond Immediately
UK LOTTERY PROGRAM
We are pleased to inform you about the result of our Lottery DRAWS HELD on=
the 27/06/2017 and announced on 05/09/2018. Your e-mail address attached t=
o ticket number 27522465896-532 with serial number 652-662 drew lucky numbe=
rs 7-14-18-23-31-45 which consequently won in the 1st category. You have th=
erefore been approved for a lump sum pay of GBP1.3Million note that. All pa=
rticipants in this lottery program have been selected randomly through a co=
mputer ballot system drawn from over 200,000 companies and 400,000,000 indi=
vidual email addresses from all search engines and web sites.
This promotional program takes place every year, and is promoted and spons=
ored by eminent world personalities like the Facebook Mark (SULTAN of Brune=
i, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg of Facebook, Bill Gates of Microsoft Inc and othe=
r corporate organizations). This is to encourage the use of the internet an=
d computers worldwide. For
security purpose and clarity, (we advise that you keep your winning Inform=
ation confidential until your claims have been processed and your money rem=
itted to you. ) This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claim=
s and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants. We look forwa=
rd to your active participation in our next year USD500 million slot. You a=
re requested to contact our LOTTERY COORDINATOR:
Mr. Santin Willy
All winnings must be claimed not later than 1/10/2018. Please note, in ord=
er to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, remember to quote your WI=
NNING NUMBERS, SERIAL numbers, and TICKET numbers in all correspondence. Fu=
rthermore, if should there be any change of address do inform our agent as =
soon as possible.
Congratulations once more and thank you for being part of our promotional =
program. You are required to reply to this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
for further details.
NOTE: YOU ARE AUTOMATICALLY DISQUALIFIED IF YOU ARE BELOW 18 YEARS OF AGE.
Reply immediately you get this message to enable us secure and transfer yo=
Thank you Team Coordinators.