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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: "Mr. Mark Ellis" <>
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 23:43:08 +0000

Dear Friend,

Let me start by introducing myself. I am MR. MARK ELLIS, a staff of the CITY
CENTER TRUST BANK. I have an obscured business suggestion for you.

I honestly apologize and hope I did not cause you much embarrassment by
contacting you through this means for a transaction of this magnitude, but
this is due to confidentiality and prompt access reposed on this medium,
sorry my English is not very good. Before the U.S and Iraqi war our client
MAJOR FADI EL AMIN who was with the Iraqi forces and also business man made
a numbered fixed deposit for 18 calendar months, with a value of Ten
millions United State Dollars only in my branch. Upon maturity several
Notices was sent to him, even during the war early this year.

Again after the war another notification was sent and still no response came
from him. We later find out that the Major and his family had been killed
during the war in bomb blast that hit their home.

After further investigation it was also discovered that MAJOR FADI EL AMIN
did not declare any next of kin in his official papers including the paper
work of his bank deposit. And he also confided in me the last time he was at
my office that no one except me knew of his deposit in my bank. So, Ten
millions United State Dollars is still lying in my bank and no one will ever
come forward to claim it. What bothers me most is that according to the laws
of my country at the expiration 3 years the funds will revert to the
ownership of the England Government if nobody applies to claim the funds.
Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as a
foreigner to stand as the next of kin to MAJOR FADI EL AMIN so that you will
be able to receive his funds.

Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this
issue. Once the funds have been transferred to your nominated bank account
we shall share in the ratio of 70% for me, 30% for you. Should you be
interested please let me know and finally after that I shall provide you
with more details of this operation.

Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated.


Kind Regards


Anti-fraud resources: