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:
- "barrister" (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "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!
- Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.
- 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.
- +447031934743 (UK, redirects to a mobile phone in another country)
- 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: "Mr. Jeffrey Nelson" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2023 04:27:41 -0800
Subject: Congratulations !
The International Awareness
Promotion Department Of
YAHOO & MICROSOFT Inc.
MAIL AWARD PROMOTION.
Headquarters: 1X, Bexon Court Carlton
Nottingham Shire Nottingham NG4 1SQ Essex
The United Kingdom.
Customer Service : 580 WCL 85915
Tel No : + 44 -7031 93 4743.
Reference Number : YHMS - 010 / 2551256115 / 011
Security Code : YHMS/OCT/XX011.
Winning Number: BE 0870L/URL.
Attention: Lucky Winner,
We happily announce to you the draw of the 2022 Yahoo & Microsoft Inc. email
prize award International program held on the 12th of August 2022, in
Nottingham United Kingdom. Your email address attached to Ticket number: AG
- 546 7443465 L45, Winning number: BE 0870L/UCRL, with Serial number: 654-
668, and Draw lucky number: 7151814 - 05, which subsequently won you this
award in the 2nd Category of File number: FA1405U-ID. With your Batch
number: 0865-B and Reference number: YHMS- 08 /2551256005/11, You have
therefore been approved to claim a total sum of Â£750,000.00 GBP ( Seven
Hundred and Fifty Thousand British Pounds) in Cheque.
All participants in this magnificent lottery program were selected randomly
through a computer ballot system and database of over 95.000.000 individual
email addresses from all search engines. Your e-mail address was picked by
the automated computer ballot system, which has been programmed for this
random selection. This has eventually qualified you for the Winning. This
promotional program takes place annually and is promoted and sponsored by
eminent personalities, Sultan of Brunei, Bill Gates of Microsoft Inc. With
the support of European And American corporate companies and organizations
to encourage the use of Internet and computers worldwide.
Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our Asian / Oversea
representative's booklet as indicated in your File number: FA1405U-ID. In
view of this, your Â£750,000,00 GBP cheque would be released to you by Our
Asian / Overseas payment officer. Furthermore, Please Contact Bar. Ralph
Steinberd at Our United State(USA) Regional Branch to commence with the
process, facilitating the immediate release of your OWN CHEQUE, with the
following information below:......
Barrister Ralph Steinberd
MICROSOFT Inc. Asian / Oversea Payment Officer.
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Office - Tel No : + 1 ( 501 ) 888 9163
VERIFICATION AND FUNDS RELEASE FORM :
(A) Winning number:, (B) Serial number:, (C) Draw lucky number:, (D) File
3. Marital Status:........
7. Nationality :............
8. Country of Residence:.......
9. Telephone Number:..........
10. Scanned copy of your ID CARD or PASSPORT ......
Note: In order to avoid mistakes, please remember to quote your Reference,
Batch numbers and Security code of YHMS/OCT/XX011. in all correspondence
with your Claim / Payment Officer. Please note that all winnings must be
claimed not later than one month after the date of this winning
notification. Please contact Barrister. Ralph Steinberd in your claim with
the following details above to enable the speedy evaluation and processing
of your winning.
MR. Jeffrey Nelsona
Yahoo & Microsoft Inc.
United Kingdom Headquarters