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:
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- ",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)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- 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: Mercedes Benz<email@example.com>
Date: 02 Jan 2019 04:30:38 -0500
Subject: RE: YOUR EMAIL WON MERCEDES BENZ 2019 PRIZES.
CONGRATULATION 2019 WINNER.
Dear Email Owner:
We happily announced that your E-mail Address has been selected among the winners of the Mercedes Benz International Online Lottery Draw 2019 Xmas and new year promo. You are now a winner of a brand new "Mercedes Benz c350 4matic 2019 model" and the grand prize of $4,500,000.00 USD.
For easy claim of your winnings, you are simply advice to contact our Claim Agent Barr. Charles Beck, in Colorado Springs, Colorado USA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
BENEFICIARY FULL NAME:
CONTACT EMAIL ADDRESS:
All necessary information on what to do in receiving your winnings will be treated by our claim agent once contacted by you.
NB: Delivery cost is mandatory in claiming your winning.
Your Mercedes Benz Online Lottery Draw Reference Claim Code: (765591).
Mercedes Benz Inc.