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.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
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)
- 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 mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- 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: "DR MRS ANA MARIA LOPEZ" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2020 08:45:13 -0700
Subject: FROM DR MRS ANA MARIA LOPEZ
FROM: THE DESK OF THE VICE CHAIRMAN. INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION/PRICE AWARD MADRID, SPAIN.
Ref Nº : ESP/11052020
RE: LOTERIA NACIONAL AWARD NOTIFICATION
This is to inform you of the release of the EUROMILLIONES LOTTERY PROMOTIONS PROGRAM held on the 25th September, 2020. Your NAME and EMAIL IDENTITY/ADDRESS was pick and attached to ticket/Batch number 53152 with Reference number ESP/11052020 drew the lucky numbers 07-15-25-31-34-46, which consequently won the lottery in the 1st category. You have therefore been approved of a lump sum payment of 4.898.000.00.
All participants email identity/address were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from (ONE MILLION) names and email identity/address from Asia, America, Africa, Europe, and South Pacific, as part of our International promotion program. We hope your lucky name will draw a bigger cash prize in the subsequent programs ahead.
To begin your lottery claims, please fill and fax or email the attached payment processing form with a copy of your identification to your claims agent MR. FRANK LUIS GOMEZ THE FOREIGN SERVICE MANAGER of EXCEL SEGUROS, S.L. On Tel: +34-632 867 043, Fax:+34-919 039 447 and Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for the processing and remittance of your prize winning money to a designated choice of yours.
And also be informed that 10% of your Winning belongs to EXCEL SEGUROS, S.L for acting on your behalf on receipt of this money.
CONGRATULATION ONCE AGAIN
DR ANA MARIA LOPEZ
EXCEL EUROPA SEGUROS, S.L.
TEL:+34 632 867 043 & FAX: +34 919 039 447
COMPLETE THIS FORM AND FAX ALONG WITH A COPY OF YOUR IDENTIFICATION
ADDRESS IN FULL:___________________________________________________________________________
OCCUPATION___________________________DATE OF BIRTH_________________________________________
REFERENCE Nº:________________________BATCH Nº:_____________________________________________
I WANT TO BE PAID BY BANK TRANSFER.
...........HEREBY DECLARE THAT I HAVE NEVER RECEIVED ANY PAYMENT ON MY BEHALF OF EXCEL SEGUROS, S.L, NOR HAVE ANY OF MY FAMILY MEMBERS FILED A CLAIM ON MY BEHALF. I HERE BY AUTHORISE EXCEL SEGUROS, S.L TO ACT ON MY BEHALF IN THE PROCESSING AND TRANSFER OF FUNDS TO THE DESIGNATED BANK INFORMATION AS STATED ABOVE. I ALSO AGREE TO PAY 10% OF MY WINNING TO EXCEL SEGUROS, S.L ON RECEIPT OF THIS MONEY.
SIGNATURE : DATE: