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:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "million dollars" (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)
- "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)
- 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 (Gmail/GoogleMail; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Nathaniel Cole" (may be fake)
Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2020 03:18:14 -0800
Subject: Claim Your Winnings Today,
Dear Lucky Winner,
As part of our International Promotion and Bonanza Program for the first quarter of Year 2020, the NATIONAL LOTTERY, UK (in conjunction with BIG LOTTERY FUND) just carried out lottery computer draws in some regions using the COMPUTER BALLOTING TECHNIQUE (CBT).
You (an international winner) have won Two Million Dollars ($2,000,000.00) only. Winners were drawn from the data base of different regions. After the Computer Balloting for Batch Number MFI/08/APA-43658, your email address drew Winning Reference Number 03 30 86 32 34 71 33. Note that the computer draws were based strictly and randomly on people that NEVER played/entered our lotteries
The Prize Money is insured and with one of our National Lottery Bankers in Europe. For guidance on how to process and claim your Lottery Prize Money, please contact the Claims/Processing Officer attached to your winning, MR. NATHANIEL COLE immediately by email
To avoid the incidence of counter claims and complications, you are advised to keep your WINNING confidential until after the claims. Under no circumstances should you disclose your Winning Reference Number and Batch Number to anybody before claims. Terms and conditions apply.
Please kindly reply via this email address: email@example.com
Mr. Nathaniel Cole
Lottery Claims/Processing Officer.