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:
- 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:
- "million pounds" (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!
Fraud email example:
From: PLATINUM FOUNDATION <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2017 11:17:38 -0400
Subject: RE: ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT.
Dear Internet User
We noticed that some prize still remain unclaimed and your email id attached to ballot number: ( 04-05- 06-12-20-29-30) appeared to be among the lucky winners who have not filed for the claim of their award prize.
Your email ID was selected during the Platinum Foundation Promo, Euro millions, Monthly Play, Thunder ball, Hot picks which is an internet giveaway program whereby email addresses are being extracted from the internet and the winners are being determined from a ballot draw.
Note, that tickets were not sold for this program hence, your e-mail address attached to the above ballot number subsequently won you in the 3rd category i.e. match 5 plus bonus.
You have been approved for over two months to claim a total sum of £1 Million Pounds Sterling, credited to file PLATUK/9GM/327739. and
this will be the 3rd and the final notification we are sending you to come forward for the claim of your prize.
You have 15 days left to claim your prize after which the prize money is donated to the Good Causes fund.