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Homeland Security

Internet Hoaxes

Below is information on internet hoaxes, scams and urban legends.

Identifying Hoaxes and Urban Legends

Chain letters are familiar to anyone with an e-mail account, whether they are sent by strangers or well-intentioned friends or family members. Try to verify the information before following any instructions or passing the message along.

There are two main types of chain letters:

  • Hoaxes — Hoaxes attempt to trick or defraud users. A hoax could be malicious, instructing users to delete a file necessary to the operating system by claiming it is a virus. It could also be a scam that convinces users to send money or personal information.
  • Urban legends — Urban legends are designed to be redistributed and usually warn users of a threat or claim to be notifying them of important or urgent information. Another common form are the e-mails that promise users monetary rewards for forwarding the message or suggest that they are signing something that will be submitted to a particular group. Urban legends usually have no negative effect aside from wasted bandwidth and time.

For more information on internet hoaxes and urban legends, visit OnGuard

Department of Homeland Security Cashier Check Hoax

A hoax has been circulating about a cashiers check being held by the New York Office of the Department of Homeland Security and requests personal identification to confirm release of the check, and frequently requests money in the form of a deposit or release for that check. This is a hoax. Do not provide any personally identifiable information or money.

As with other types of "advance fee fraud," we advise recipients of this e-mail to report these types of solicitation to the Federal Trade Commissions at or to ignore them.

Sample E-Mail:

From Department of HomeLand Security, New York

We have intercepted a cashier check issued in your name. The check was intercepted by our officers at the J F Kennedy International Airport New York while the cashier check was about being smuggled out of USA and was brought to our office. The cashier check is currently with us at our Office Annex in New York.


To enable us confirm and verify the check as yours, kindly give us your full name, your contact address, telephone/fax number. Inform us if you where processing to receive any fund? If yes, what is the amount of Fund/cashier check/bank draft or money order you were processing to receive?


As soon as we hear from you, if the name and details on the cashier check corresponds with your name and details as you will give us, we will contact you again for the verification and release of the check to you otherwise if the name and details you give us does not in any way correspond with the name on the cashier check, we will not contact you again.




BG F. David Sheppard, Director
Management Program Specialist
NYS Office of Homeland Security
1220 Washington Avenue
7th Floor, Suite 710
Albany, NY 12226


Another Variation:

This one uses personal information to make it sound more official. This one arrives with your e-mail and name used in the body of the message. Even though it may contain personal information, do not respond.


Securing, guarding and protecting the American homeland

Attention YOUR NAME

You are required to come to our office in New York for verification, clearance and collection of your cashier check. You are to come along with the verification and clearance fee of $ 2,890 since you do not have the clearance certificate. Our office address is below.


f you cannot come to our office in person for verification, clearance and collection of your check, send the verification and clearance fee of $ 2,890 to us via western union or money gram. This fee is to enable us obtain the state certified clearance for the release of the cashier check to you since you were not aware of the state lottery cashier check coming to you and you do not have the required state clearance.


Immediately we receive the verification and clearance fee, we will dispatch or send your cashier check to you via your contact address at; 237 Eldridge St. 36 New York NY 10002 which you will receive within 1-2 hours. If you will like us to send the casheir check to another contact address of yours, kindly re-confirm that urgently before we send the check out.


Therefore if you are coming in person, come along with fee as above or if you cannot come in person, send the fee to us via western union or money gram.


Note; send it to us on the name of our verification and clearance officer as follows;



Send the payment details to us once you send the fees. You can call us on; 866 733 9977 or 315 370 4668. Your telephone number as we have it is; 212 XXX XXXX. If there is any other telephone number or cell phone number where you want


UPS Uniform Urban Legend

An urban legend regarding UPS uniforms has been circulating on the Internet via e-mail since early 2003. This urban legend, and a variation with a Department of Homeland Security signature block, are all equally untrue.

See “Uniform Behavior” on and “UPS Uniform Hoax ” on

Sample E-Mail:


Government Warning regarding purchase of UPS uniforms:

There has been a huge purchase, $32,000 worth, of United Parcel Service (UPS) uniforms on eBay over the last 30 days. This could represent a serious threat as bogus drivers (terrorists) can drop off anything to anyone with deadly consequences! If you have ANY questions when a UPS driver appears at your door they should be able to furnish VALID I.D.

Additionally, if someone in a UPS uniform comes to make a drop off or pick up, make absolutely sure! they are driving a UPS truck. UPS doesn't make deliveries or pickups in anything, except a company vehicle. If you have a problem, call your local law enforcement agency right away!

TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY! Tell everyone in your office, your family, your friends, etc. Make people aware so that we can prepare and/or avoid terrorist attacks on our people! Thank you for your time in reviewing this and PLEASE send to EVERYONE on your list, even if they are friend or foe. We should all be aware!


Kimberly Bush-Carr
Management Program Specialist
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Bureau Customs and Border Protection
Washington, DC 20229



Nigerian Bank Advance Fee Fraud Scheme


The following untrue e-mail has recently circulated regarding the Department of Homeland Security in a variation of the Nigerian Bank Advance Fee Fraud money scheme. E-mails show fake "From" addresses such as: "" and "" which are actually fake cover addresses for the sender's real email address.

As with other types of "advance fee fraud," we advise recipients of this e-mail to report these types of solicitation to the Federal Trade Commissions at or to ignore them.

Sample E-Mail:


To Whom It May Concern:

With reference to the detailed information received from the United State of American Embassy in Nigeria regarding your transaction with the African Development Bank and your reluctances to complete the said transaction,

This organization has received a notice to advise you to comply with the African development bank PLC by providing the requested US$95 to the office of the president, Mr. Donald Kaberuka to enable the Urgent release of your fund.

Note that the Home Land security in your Location will commence investigation on your failure to reach the President, African Development Bank through, Telephone Number: 234-703 0136514 with the requested US$95 official charges.


The Honorable
Michael P. Jackson
Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security
Phone: 1-202-282-8000
1-202-447-3543 TTY


Crystal Methamphetamine

An urban legend targeting crystal methamphetamine (crystal meth) with the signature of a Homeland Security Official started e-mail circulation in October of 2007 as a variation of an e-mail that started in April 2007.  Crystal meth is a dangerous illicit substance that drug dealers sell; however there is no evidence that it is being flavored and given to children on school yards. 

For more information, please visit "Strawberry Meth" at

Sample E-Mail:


Halloween Warning for Parents

There is a type of crystal meth going around that looks like strawberry pop rocks. It smells like strawberry also and it is being handed out to kids in school yards in AR. I'm sure it will make its way around the country. Kids are ingesting this thinking it is candy and being rushed off to the ER in dire condition.

It also comes in chocolate, peanut butter, cola, cherry, grape and orange. It looks just like pop rocks.

Please instruct children to not accept candy that looks like this even from a friend and to take any that they may have to a teacher, principal, etc.

Pass this around it could save some family a lot of heartache!

They call it strawberry meth or strawberry quick.


Special Agent Todd V. Coleman
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement
Direct Office Line (956) 753-4678
Office Fax Line (956) 753-4673





Last Published Date: August 6, 2015

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