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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "claims agent" (real lotteries do not use a "claim agent" / "fiduciary agent")
- "million united states dollars" (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)
- "courier company" (Courier companies mentioned in 419 scams are always fake. They will have you send money to them, but won't deliver anything. )
- 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 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.
- 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 (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: Mega Millions International Lottery <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2023 17:59:17 +0000
Subject: GOOD NEWS
We noticed that some prizes remain unclaimed and your email ID appears to
be among the lucky winners who have not filed for the claim of their award
Your email ID won during the Mega Millions International Lottery,
Megamillions, Monthly Play, Thunder ball, Hot picks which is an internet
giveaway program whereby email addresses are extracted from the internet,
and the winners selected from a ballot draw.
Note, that tickets are not sold anywhere for this program; hence, your
e-mail address subsequently won you in the 3rd category, i.e. match five
plus bonus. You have been approved for over two months to claim a total sum
of One Million United States Dollars, credited to file GOLDEN/7GM/01082
We have authorized this win to be paid to you via the International Bank
Draft. You are required to settle the courier fee directly to the Lottery
Agent in-charge to send the Bank Draft to you from Benin Republic through
Benin Postal Courier Company. The shipping fee is US$299.00. This charge is
for Issuance and the shipping of the Bank Draft to your home address. You
are required to contact the agent in-charge (Mr. Tafik Dada) via email.
Kindly look below to find his contact information:
*CONTACT AGENT NAME: Mr. Tafik Dada*
*EMAIL: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> *
*Tel: +229 5045 4779*
Kindly confirm your details below so as to enable us send your Bank Draft:
A COPY OF YOUR ID CARD:
CONGRATULATIONS ONCE AGAIN!
Mega Millions International Lottery
International claims agent.