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"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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Fraud email example:

From: "marcelo martins" <>
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2005 12:41:35 +0000
Subject: Good Day Friend

Dear Friend,

Firstly, not to cause you embarrassment, I am Barrister Marcelo Martins,
a Solicitor at law and the personal attorney to late Mr.Zemenu Gente a
National of France, who used to be a private contractor with the Shell
Petroleum Development Company in Saudi Arabia, herein after shall be
Referred to as my client. On the 21st of April 2001, he and his wife
with their three children were involved in an auto crash, all occupants
of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives.

Since then, I have made several enquiries with his country's embassies
to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has also proved
Unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to
Contact you with this business partnership proposal. I have contacted
you to assist in repatriating a huge amount of money left behind by my
client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the
Finance/Security Company where these huge deposit was lodged. The
deceased had a deposit valued presently at $21million US Dollars and
the Company has issued me a notice to provide his next of kin or
Beneficiary by Will otherwise have the account confiscated within the
next thirty official working days.

Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2
years now, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin / Will
Beneficiary to the deceased so that the proceeds of this account valued
at $21Million US dollars can be paid to you. This will be disbursed or
shared in these percentages, 60% to me and 40% to you.

I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any claim
we may make. All I require is your honest Co-operation, Confidentiality
and Trust to enable us see this transaction through.I guarantee you that
this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect
you from any breach of the law. Please get in touch with me urgently by

I am presently in London and provide me the following;
1. Full Name
2. Your Telephone Number and Fax Number
3. Your Contact Address.

Your urgent response will be highly anticipated and appreciated.

Best regards,

Barrister Marcelo Martins.

Anti-fraud resources: