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:
- "money laundering" ("anti-terrorist", "anti-money laundering" or "drug-free" certificates are a common way for criminals in fake lottery scams and other Advance Fee scams to get you to send money to them. There are no such certificates in the real banking world. )
- "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)
- "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)
- ",500,000" (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: "Executive Secretary" (may be fake)
Date: Mon, 21 May 2018 12:37:03 +0100
Subject: UNITED STATES TREASURY DEPARTMENT
UNITED STATES TREASURY DEPARTMENT
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220.
I am , Steven Terner Mnuchin Secretary of the United States
National Treasury. President Donald Trump nominated me to be the 77th
Secretary of the Treasury on February 13, 2017. The United States
Senate unanimously confirmed me to the position on February 16, 2017
and I was sworn into office the next day, by Supreme Court Chief
Justice. As Treasury Secretary, I am the Presidents leading policy
advisory on a broad range of domestic and international economic
We inform you today that we have intercepted the delivery of a
consignment box valued the sum of $12,500.000.00 USD (Twelve Million
Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) which was collected from
an authorized delivery agent which was sent from United Nations,
Europe. The delivery was stopped at a local airport here in the U.S
holding a consignment box which he confessed that you are the owner,
he made us understand that the funds belongs to you as a lottery prize
from the United Nations and he was sent to deliver it to your home.
After proper investigations, we discovered the delivery agent does not
have tangible documents to deliver this consignment box to you in the
U.S and he was stopped and sent back to his country, and the funds
were retrieved and kept in our custody in your favor.
After several investigations to know the source of the funds and to
confirm the legitimacy of the funds, we confirmed that the funds are
clean and not act of Money Laundering or for sponsorship of Terrorism
in the U.S. After acknowledging the delay in your retrieved funds
which is truly $12,500.000.00 USD (Twelve Million Five Hundred Thousand
United States Dollars). The Secretary of State (Mr. Rex Tillerson)
scheduled a time frame to settle all foreign/local debts which
includes Contract/Inheritance/ Gambling/ Lottery(Sponsored by
Microsoft and National Lottery) and other international loans. News
had it that over the past, numerous individual (s) who happen to be
impostors (claiming to be individuals, banks and organizations) are
claiming to release numerous sums of fund via numerous ways.
With the help of the FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) and other
relevant security agencies, we have noticed that people have being
asked to pay outrageous amount of money by these impostors for the
release of their funds to them. We want you to stop all communication
that has to do with these fraudsters who have been requesting
unreasonable sums of money from you to release your funds which they
do not have access to. And I want you to know that your funds valued
at US$12,500,000.00 (Twelve Million Five Hundred Thousand United States
Dollars) have been approved by the Treasury Department of the United
States, and I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of
this mail confidential and respect the integrity of the information
you come by as a result of this mail. I contact you independently of
our investigation and no one is informed of this communication.
In order for us to process your delivery, you need/must get back to us
with the below requested information:
Your full Name:
NOTE: This matter must be treated within (5) Five working days if not,
you will leave us with no choice than to send back your Consignment
Box from the issuing organization. Please get back to me as soon as
possible with the required information and your full willingness to
finalize this transaction.
Thank you for your co-operation.
Steven Terner Mnuchin
United States Treasury Department
Main Treasury 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220.