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:
- 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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- "the bmw automobile company" (no such lottery exists)
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "you are required to pay " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "courier service" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- "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!
Fraud email example:
From: MR EDWARD <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2021 23:50:15 +0100
Subject: BMW 2021 END OF YEAR LOTTERY WINNING NOTIFICATION
THE BMW AUTOMOBILE COMPANY.
We wish to congratulate you once again on this note, for being one
of the lucky winners selected on this year BMW MOTORS COMPANY, IN
2021 INTERNATIONAL AWARENESS PROMOTION, HELD IN USA. I am writing to
inform you that you have won a brand New BMW X6 M and a cheque for
This promotion was set-up in UNITED STATE to encourage prospective
MOBILE users. Our Screening Committee And National Advisory Board has
completed all verification and screening by the Screening Committee of
"US'' Overseas National Advisory Remittance Claims Unit.
And you have been approved to received your BRAND NEW X6 M BMW CAR
and a cheque for $10.5 million by a special diplomatic arrival been
approved by the regulation council of the BMW Motors Company.
Your cheque prize of $10.5 million will be delivered safely to your
door step through our Accredited Dispatch Officer. Having considered
all possible measures to convey your prize, we resolve to use a
special affiliated courier company under Diplomatic Umbrella.
We have made all necessary arrangement to convey your winning prize
direct to your door step. Your name ....?, phone number......?, and
address......? is needed, and also you are required to Pay the
delivery charge of $100 only.
I am MR EDWARD from the COURIER SERVICES, I will be Arriving in
your state on THURSDAY MORNING, if you are able get to me the
requirements today. And you are to provide me a copy of your ID prove
( ID CARD/ PASSPORT / VOTERS CARD, PAN CARD OR ANY VALID ID PROOF)
once I get to your destination to enable me identify you before I will
Handover your parcel to you.