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:
- "consignment " (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)
- "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 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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.
Fraud email example:
From: "mr.jeh.johnson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "mr.jeh.johnson" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 09:17:15 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: FROM .. HOME LAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT!!
Â FROM .. HOME LAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT!!
MG Timothy J. Lowenberg,Adjutant General and Director State Military
Department Washington Military Dept., Bldg1 Camp Murry ,Wash 98430-5000 USA
Tell: (470) 204-1618
This is Mr.jeh Johnson Secretary of homeland security department.we know that you have not received Your fund from Africa! we have finally cash your $6.5million abandoned long-lost cheque confirming to be your won compensation funds,we cash the monies and we decided to boxed the money for avoiding expiry of the cheque because it has stayed long in our custody searching for your contact to reach you,after our investigation that we discovered that the money is not an illegal payment. so kindly reconfirm your full address,
your nearest Airport.
You can call MR. Hillary Benson at : +229-6867-1847 the director of overseas payment of the presidency office who is in charge to give instruction approval to releasing the boxed-money consignment to me for onwards delivering it to you, reach him with the required details at Email ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY