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:
- "from: the desk of" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "foreign service manager" (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)
- ",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)
- "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: "ELIZABETH MAQUES" (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2019 06:21:07 +0100
Subject: FINAL AWARD NOTIFICATION: EMAIL OWNER ONLY!
FROM: THE DESK OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
THE MEGA MILLION LOTTERY DRAW/PRIZE AWARD DEPT
REF NUMBER: OBC/VC/0999/171
BATCH NUMBER: SPA/2018-1945W
FINAL AWARD NOTIFICATION
Lucky Winner, We are delighted to inform you of the MEGA MILLION LOTTERY DRAW held on Dec /20/2018; But due to mix up of E-mails, the results were released on Dec/31/2018. Your email attached to ticket number: 01890419 with serial number: 9912 drew lucky numbers: 4-13-21-27-36-38 with bonus ball 45 which consequently won in the 3rd category, you have therefore been approved the winner for a lump sum pay out of Two Million Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand United State Dollars ($2,850,000.00) Congratulations! Note: This is a tax-free draw and all participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from Over 40,000,000, people worldwide.
The program was designed and promoted by EU with collaboration of US Government and some other international lottery institutes that include EUROMILLONES and others. This has been one of the biggest ever played in the world which aimed at changing the lives of millions of people. To enable us proceed with your claims, this information must be kept away from the public to avoid unwarranted abuse of the program or fraudulent claims by unauthorized person(s).
To begin your claims, contact DR.KENNY PATRICK the Foreign Service Manager/Remittance officer of QUINCY SECURITIES on Email: email@example.com , Lines open Monday to Friday 9AM to 10PM, Saturday 9AM TO 6PM (GMT) for the processing and remittance of your Winnings. Remember to quote your reference number in all correspondence. And also be informed that 5% of your Winning belongs to Quincy Securities, because they are the promotion company.
Finally all winning must be claimed not later than Jan/31/2019. After this date, the entire Fund will be returned to the Ministry of Economy as unclaimed funds. Furthermore should there be any change of your personal details or address, do inform your claims agent as soon as possible.
CONGRATULATIONS ONCE AGAIN!