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:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- 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:
- "the 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)
- "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)
- ",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)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "ecowas " (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- 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: "Gen. Kristjen Michele Nielsen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Gen. Kristjen Michele Nielsen" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2019 04:26:29 +0900 (JST)
Subject: Attention beneficiary!
I$B!G(Bm Gen. Kristjen Michele Nielsen, The new secretary of U.S. Department of
Homeland security appointed by President Donald Trump. Office Address: 3801
Nebraska Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016, United States. I received a report
that you have an unclaimed/abandoned fund of US$2,500,000.00 (Two
five hundred thousand United State Dollar) in the East Africa Kenya.
I want to bring to your notice that i have instructed ECOWAS and the
concerned authorities to bring the consignment box containing your total
fund to our Head office in Washington DC. The said fund will be here
I want you to kindly Reconfirm
YOUR FULL NAME::::::
So that arrangement can be made for the delivery of the consignment box
I can be reached at (202) 996-3049. Leave me a text or Voice Message if i
am unavailable to answer.
I look forward to hearing from you. EMAIL DIRECT CONTACT(
Gen. Kristjen Michele Nielsen
The U.S. Department of