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 phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claim agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "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)
- "dear beneficiary," (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)
- 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.
- email@example.com (Yahoo; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: You have 24 Hours to claim this Prize <Mercedesbenzlottery@mbusa.com>
Date: 17 Jun 2022 19:11:25 -0500
Subject: Dear Winner
We are pleased to announced that your E-mail Address have been
selected among the winners of the Mercedes Benz International
Online Lottery Draw for the year 2022. You are now a winner of a
Brand New "2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450" and the Grand prize of $5,
500,000.00 USD.(Five Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars)
For easy claim of your winnings, you are simply advice to contact
our Claim Agent
Bakersfield, California USA.
Please reply with your necessary information below for rightful
claim, you have 24 Hours to claim this Prize.
BENEFICIARY FULL NAME:
CONTACT EMAIL ADDRESS:
COPY OF ID CARD/DRIVER LICENCE (FRONT & BACK) OR PASSPORT:
All necessary information on what to do in receiving your
winnings will be treated by our claim agent once contacted by
Your Mercedes Benz Online Lottery Draw Reference Claim Code is :
Congratulations on your winnings!
Mercedes Benz Inc