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:
- "transferred into your bank account" (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)
- 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:
From: "Olivia Moore" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2019 13:16:29 -0700
Subject: Re: Congratulations
Dear Lucky Winner,
We are happy to inform you that you have been selected as a lucky winner in Year 2019 Samsung Electronics Consumer Promotions. Your email address was picked by our Electronic Random Selection System (ERSS) from an exclusive list of 98,000,000 e-mail addresses of individual and corporate bodies in our consumer database. Your email address is identified with Batch Number: SM/05/26/039 and Serial number 8317/2019 in Category "B" and your claims Portfolio is filed with Ref Number:SM/9205/DE. You are therefore awarded a cash prize of $850,000.00 (Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollar) from the total payout.
Your prize award of $850,000.00 has been insured under a bonded depository policy with your e-mail address and will be transferred into your bank account upon meeting the claims requirements, verification and satisfactory report.
You are advised to contact our certified and accredited agent with the below information to claim your cash prize.
Name: Mr. Paul Allen
Endeavour to provide him with the following information in your contact with him.
You are to keep prize information confidential, especially your reference and serial numbers. This is important as a case of double claiming will not be entertained.
Congratulations from all members of staff of Samsung Electronics Company. Furthermore, should there be any change of address do inform our agent as soon as possible.