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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. Mary Marshal" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 01:12:18 +0100
Subject: Mrs Mary Marshal


I bring greetings to you in the name of Almighty. I dont want you to take this letter as a spam mail or fraud attempt. My name is Mrs. Mary Marshal and seriously suffering from Cancer after the death of my husband Harry Marshal. I have two children, a boy and a girl.

I want to invest the sum of $15.5M in your country, I am not asking you for any money rather for you to hold this fund in trust and invest it in a reliable business, then I will come over to meet with you for proper medication and secure the future of my children.

I will give you details immediately I get your response.

Thanks and God bless
Mrs. Mary

Anti-fraud resources: