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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: "Richard Medding" <>
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 13:37:14 +0000
Subject: Best regards

Dear Sir,

I am barrister Richard Medding, a Lawyer by profession. I am the personal
attorney to Jim Oconnor , a foreigner who worked for the Chevron Oil
Exploration Company in Nigeria, herein after shall be referred to as my
client. On the 21st of April 2002, my client, his wife and their three
children were involved in a car accident along Lagos - Ibadan express road.

All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost there lives. Since then I
have made several enquiries to locate any of my clients extended relatives.
This has proved unsuccessful. I came to know about you through an enquiry I
was making in the internet, and i found out that you have the same last name
with my client, which is why I have decided to contact you, in order to
assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client
before they got confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank,
Particularly, the Halifax Finance Company where the deceased had an account
valued at about US$27.5 Million Dollars, has issued me a notice to provide
the next of kin or have the account confisticated within the next 21
official working days.

Since i have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 3years now
I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since
you have the same last name so that the proceeds of this account valued at
US$27.5 Million Dollars can be paid to you and we can share the money, on
the ratio of 60% for me, and 40% for 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 to enable us see this business
through. I guarantee 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 by email and send to me your telephone and fax numbers to
enable us discuss further about this transaction in details.

Best regards,

Barrister Richard Medding.(BL.LLB)

Anti-fraud resources: