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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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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:

Fraud email example:

From: "Mrs. Mariam Sankoh" <>
Reply-To: <>
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2007 03:56:26 +0100
Subject: Re: Info

Dear Sir/Madam,From where my family sort refuge under the auspices of UNHCR in Republic of Guinea since 2003, I Mrs. Mariam Sankoh, wife of the deceased Paul Chieck Sankoh, a formal freedom fighter or what people may call rebel in Sierra Leon, decided to write you this mail to solicit your help to move some money hitherto hidden in a security company to your account anywhere in the world. It's expedient now since the war has ended and the situation in our country is gradually coming to normal. My family wants to use this money to invest in one of the West African countries - precisely in Nigeria. I have contracted an Attorney in Nigeria to make sure this age long dream of stabilizing my family is achieved. I have handed him over this deal to transact with you to ensure that all protocols are observed concerning the movement of this money so that it does not violate any international law.Full details will be further given if I hear from you. Also I will appreciate if you can send me immediately your phone number including mobile line, fax and your address. Also your position in your company which will elucidate your ability to handle this money once it is in your hand. Please note that the transaction is hitch-free since I will give you the document which my husband used in depositing the money and with the advice of my lawyer everything will be done professionally. Do note that the success of the deal depends on you ability to keep it secret.
Mrs. Mariam Sankoh
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Anti-fraud resources: