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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: Tanaka Masato <>
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2010 18:23:16 -0400
Subject: Your Legal Service Is Needed

Dear Counsel.

My name is Tanaka Masato. I am contacting your firm in regards to a divorce settlement with my ex Husband (Paul Masato) who resides in your jurisdiction. I am currently on assignment in Japan. We had an out of court agreement for him to pay $548,450.00 plus legal fees. He has only paid me $244,000 since

I am hereby seeking your firm to represent me in collecting the balance from him. He has agreed already to pay me the balance but it is my belief that a Law firm like yours is needed to help me collect payment from my ex-Husband or litigate this matter if he fails to pay as promised. Please reply me via this E-mail:


Tanaka Masato.

Anti-fraud resources: