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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: "HSBC Bank plc." (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2010 07:35:32 +0300
Subject: Overdraft Application

Dear Customer

Thank you for applying for an HSBC Overdraft.

On this occasion we cannot proceed with your request as when we consulted a licensed credit reference agency, the information they gave us relating to you or your financial associates caused us to decline your application.

We are unable to show you this information, as it does not belong to us, but you have a right to see all of the information they hold about you.

Please visit for further information on credit reference agencies. You may be charged a fee for these services.

Yours sincerely
Emma Boardman
Head of Credit Underwiting Unit

The Internet  © Banking Team at HSBC.

Anti-fraud resources: