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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: "Colton Woodruff Esq." (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2010 15:07:33 -0800

(Will, Finance & Probate Solicitors)
Tel/Fax: +44 702 401 7922
I am Barrister Colton Woodruff a legal practitioner based in London.
A deceased client of mine who died with his wife and family in Indonesia while working on a contract with British Petroleum (BP). He and his entire family passed away as a result of the deadly Tsunami.
Please log to this website for more about the Tsunami
I am contacting you to help assist me in ensuring that the funds lodged by my client with a Financial Institution Abroad is claimed, the Financial Institution did not declare the funds unclaimed hence my reason for this contact to you. The Financial Institution has issued me a notice to contact the next of kin, or the funds will be confiscated.
I have contacted you in the hope of presenting you as my associate to assume the new recipient of a Fixed-Income deposit valued at $18million dollars.
Please contact me at once to indicate your interest. I will need your details as follows
Phone numbers:
This will enable me re-profile your details on the $18million dollars as the new recipient.You earn 35% of the $18million as your commission that stands at $6million for acting as my associate. This will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. If this business proposition offends your moral values, do accept my apology. Looking forward working with you.
Your swift response is anticipated.
Best Regards,
Colton Woodruff Esq.

Anti-fraud resources: