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:
- 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 fake company names, fake addresses, non-existent institutions/documents or other details have appeared in scams before:
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "clearance fee" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "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)
- "million 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)
- "contact me immediately" (scammers rush victims so they don't have time to think properly)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "diplomatic immunity" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "diplomatic agent" ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "the diplomat " ("diplomats" who perform deliveries of cash or other valuables to you only exist in 419 scams)
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- 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: "@HOMELAND SECURITY" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2021 08:43:01 +0100
Subject: FROM HOMELAND SECURITY
MG TIMOTHY J. LOWENBERG,ADJUTANT GENERAL AND DIRECTOR STATE
MILITARYDEPARTMENT WASHINGTON MILITARY DEPT., BLDG1 CAMP MURRY
,WASH98430-5000 USA, CALL ME OR TEXT ME +1 563 518 6690
GOOD DAY TO YOU.
I HOPE THIS MAIL FINDS YOU IN GOOD SPIRIT AND IN GOOD HEALTH? BECAUSE
I AM QUITE AWARE OF YOUR LOSSES IN THE PAST YEARS NOW, IT MAY SURPRISE
YOU THAT I AM ALSO AWARE OF YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOXES PURSUIT IN BENIN
GHANA TOGO NIGERIA SPAIN FRANCE MALAYSIA INDONESIA CHINA AND KOREA .MY
NAME IS MIKE JOHNSON,THE SECRETARY OF U.S DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND
SECURITY OF AMERICA , AM IN CHARGE TO MONITORED ALL FOREIGN
TRANSACTIONS IN AFRICA EUROPE AND ASIA.
I HAVE BEEN IN THE U.S DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY NOW SINCE THE
GOVERNMENT OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, MONITORING THE VARIOUS
TRANSACTIONS GOING ON IN AFRICA, EUROPE AND ASIA, MOST ESPECIALLY
CONSIGNMENTS CASES AND BANK TRANSFER. I DO NOT INTEND TO SPOIL YOUR
DAY OR TO PUT YOU UNDER DURESS.THIS IS TO INFORM YOU THAT I HAVE
RETURNED BACK WITH YOUR PACKAGE HERE IN OUR OFFICE AT UNITED STATE OF
AMERICAN. I WANTED TO CONTACT YOU YESTERDAY BUT I GO HOME VERY LATE
THAT I WAS UNABLE TO CHECK MY EMAILS.
I HAVE REGISTERED YOUR PACKAGE AT THE EMBASSY THIS MORNING TO RELEASED
THERE DIPLOMATIC AGENT FOR THE IMMEDIATE DELIVERY TO YOUR HOME TODAY.
THE BENIN REPUBLIC EMBASSY AT USA HERE TOLD ME THAT YOU WILL PAID $100
FOR THE DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY WHICH WILL BE OBTAINED FROM THE COUNTRY OF
ORIGIN WHICH IS BENIN REPUBLIC TO ALLOWED THE DIPLOMAT MOVE TODAY TO
DELIVER YOUR PACKAGE TO
I HEREBY CONFIRM THE PAYMENT INFORMATION GIVEN TO ME AFTER DISCUSSING
WITH HIM THAT YOU SHOULD TRY TO MAKE THE PAYMENT TODAY TO DELIVER YOUR
PACKAGE. HERE IS THE PAYMENT INFORMATION TO SEND THE FEE. SEND THE FEE
VIA WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER TODAY.
RECEIVERâS NAMEâ¦ PETER EZE
COUNTRYâ¦ BENIN REPUBLIC
REFERNCE NUMBER â¦â¦â¦â¦â¦
TO MY GREATEST SURPRISE, DURING MY RECENT ROUTINE RE-CHECKING, I
PERSONALLY DISCOVERED THAT YOUR CONSIGNMENT CONTENT DECLARATION
DOCUMENTS STATED THAT YOUR CONSIGNMENT CONTAINS PERSONAL EFFECTS
MEANWHILE, IT CONTAINS UNITED STATES DOLLAR BILLS WORTH OVER US$12.4
MILLION DOLLARS, WHICH MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE CONSIGNMENT TO BE
DELIVERED TO YOU EARLIER BEFORE NOW.
ACCORDINGLY, WE HAVE WAIVED AWAY ALL YOUR CONSIGNMENT BOX CLEARANCE
FEES AND AUTHORIZED THE GOVERNMENT OF BENIN REPUBLIC TO ALLOW ME FLY
WITH THIS YOUR APPROVED CONSIGNMENT BOX TO YOU WITHOUT ANY DELAY WHICH
THEY HAVE AGREED. THE ONLY FEE YOU WILL PAY TO CONFIRM YOUR
CONSIGNMENT BOX RECEIVED IN YOUR POSSESSION IS THE WEIGHT FEE OF YOUR
CONSIGNMENT BOX WHICH IS SUM OF $100.00 ONLY.
IN ORDER WORDS YOUR BOX IS WITH ME NOW AND I SHALL BE COMING TO YOUR
COUNTRY AS SOON AS I HEAR FROM YOU AND I WILL BE COMING ALONG WITH
YOUR BOX OF CONSIGNMENT.AND AS SOON AS I ARRIVE IN YOUR STATE I WILL
GIVE YOU A PHONE CALL FOR YOU TO GIVE ME DIRECTION TO YOUR HOME
ADDRESS SO THAT WE CAN MEET FACE TO FACE AND HAND OVER YOUR BOX TO YOU
BEFORE PROCEEDING BACK TO THE STATES.
I HAVE TAKEN THIS ASSIGNMENT UPON MYSELF BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU
HAVE REALLY PAID SO MUCH ON THE COST OF DELIVERY, BUT NOTHING WAS
RECEIVED BY YOU. SO BE ADVICE TO CONTACT ME IMMEDIATELY YOU GET THIS
EMAIL NOW BECAUSE EVERY THING HAS BEEN DONE OK. THIS IS DIRECTLY
PRESIDENT JOB BIDEN.
ONCE YOU SEND THE MONEY, TRY TO NOTIFY ME WITH THE REFERENCE FOR EASY
PICK UP AND FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION ON THE DELIVERY OF YOUR CONSIGNMENT
BOX,FOR YOU TO RECEIVE YOUR INHERITED FUNDS WITHOUT ANY FURTHER DELAY
Clifford N. MIKE
SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.
CALL ME OR TEXT ME +1 563 518 6690