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.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claims office" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- ",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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "FREE LOTTO COMPANY." (may be fake)
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2019 02:46:29 +0100
Subject: CONTACT YOUR AGENT...
FREE LOTTO COMPANY.
JOHN SMITH DRIVE, OXFORD
OX4 2JY, ENGLAND.
We are pleased to announce you as one of the lucky winners in the FreeLotto draw held on the 23rd of November 2019.
All winning addresses were randomly selected from a batch of 50,000,000 international emails...
Your email address emerged in the 3rd category winners in this year's Annual FreeLotto Draw.
Your email address won a cash award off Six hundred and eighty eight thousand two hundred and fifty euros (688,250.00 Euros).. only.
The following particulars are attached to your payment order:
1.Reference Number: FL/04/7362072/UK
2.Email ticket Number: FL754/22/19
3.Winning Numbers: 37-13-43-85-67-11
Contact the underlisted claims officer as soon as possible for the immediate release of your winnings.
Mrs. Helena Sanchez.