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:
- "hundred thousand 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)
- "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)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "SECRETARY KIRSTJEN NIELSEN US HOMELAND SECURITY" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2018 10:54:08 -0700
Subject: SCAM VICTIMS PLEASE REPLY
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Greetings, this is the Department of Homeland Security we have vital mission: to secure the nation from the many threats we face as well as internet Fraud. This requires the dedication of more than 230,000 employees in jobs that range from aviation and border security to emergency response, from cyber security analyst to chemical facility inspector. Our duties are wide-ranging, but our goal is clear - keeping America safe.
We are thrilled to inform you that your fund valued at Ten million, Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$10,700,000.00) have been approved by the Treasury Department of the United States.
It might interest you to know that we have taken our time in screening through this project as stipulated on our protocol of operation and have finally confirmed that your compensation fund is %100 genuine and hitch free from all facets and of which you have the lawful right to claim your fund without any further delay.
Note: Dont respond to any e-mail that comes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI director doesnt communicate via e-mail; He would rather send his agents to your door step in person.
Secretary Kirstjen Michele Nielsen
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528, USA.