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:
- "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)
- ",000,000" (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.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Kevin McAleenan" <email@example.com>
Reply-To: "Mr. Kevin McAleenan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2019 18:39:20 +0800 (HKT)
Subject: Attention Dear Beneficiary
I'm Mr. Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland security appointed by President Donald Trump. Office Address: 3801 Nebraska Ave NW, Washington, DC, United States. I received a report that you have an unclaimed fund of US$5,000,000.00 (Five Million United State Dollar) in the West Africa. 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 today. Therefore, you are expected to reconfirm your Full Name (as stated on your government issued photo ID), Home Address, Nearest Airport and your Direct Cell Phone # so that arrangement can be made for the delivery of the consignment box to your home address.
I will be looking forward to Hearing from you As soon as Possible
Mr. Kevin McAleenan
The Acting Secretary Of the
U.S Department of Homeland
Security Washington D.C