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:
- "cheque " (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- 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: "©Google Notification®." (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2020 01:11:52 -0700
Subject: Congratulations from the Staffs & Members of the Google interactive
Oakfield Road, Moss Ln
HULL, HU6 7RX
Winning No: GOUK/7828/2020
Ticket No: GOUK/7828/2020
GOOGLE ANNIVERSARY WINNING NOTIFICATION 2020.
We wish to congratulate you on this note, for being part of our
selected winners in our just concluded internal promotion draw this
year, this promotion was set-up to encourage the active users of the
Google search engine and the Google ancillary services.
Hence we do believe with your winning prize, you will continue to be
an active patronage to the
Google search engine and services. Google is now the biggest search
engine worldwide and in an effort to make sure that it remains the
most widely used search engine, we ran an online e-mail beta draw
which your email address won Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand Great
British Pounds Sterling (£950,000.00). We wish to formally announce to
you that you have successfully passed the requirements, statutory
obligations, verifications, validations and satisfactory report Test
conducted for all online winners.
A winning check will be issued in your name by Google Promotion Award;
for the sum of Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand Great British Pounds
Sterling (£950,000.00) and also a certificate of prize claims will be
sent alongside your winning check cashable at any bank.
You are advised to contact your Foreign Transfer Manager with the
following details to avoid unnecessary delay and complications:
VERIFICATION AND FUNDS RELEASE FORM
(1) Your Contact Address/Private Email Address.
(2) Your Tel/Fax Numbers.
(3) Your Nationality/Country.
(4) Your Full Name.
(7) Ever Won An Online Lottery?
Paul Buchheit (Program Coordinator)
Mode of Price Remittance
*Cash Pick-Up (You as the Beneficiary coming down to the United
Kingdom to receive your Award Personally).
*Courier Delivery of your Certified Winning Cheque in your Name and
other Winning Documents safely to you.
The Google Promotion Award Team has discovered a huge number of double
claims due to winners informing close friends relatives and third
parties about their winning and also sharing their pin numbers. As a
result of this, these friends try to claim the lottery on behalf of
the real winners.
The Google Promotion Award Team has reached a decision from its
headquarters that any double claim discovered by the Lottery Board
will result to the canceling of that particular winning, leading to a
loss for both the double claimer and the real winner, as it is taken
that the real winner was the informer to the double claimer about the
lottery. So you are hereby strongly advised once more to keep your
winnings strictly confidential until you claim your prize.
Congratulations from the Staffs & Members of the Google interactive
Lotteries Board Commission.
Co-founder of Google