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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: "Melissa Lewis" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2011 00:28:59 +0800
Subject: Hello

Greetings to you in the name of our lord Jesus Christ,my name is Mrs.Mellisa Lewis i am a catholic by faith,i am going on a cancer surgery today,and the good lord has placed in my heart to WILLED 14.258M in my private Bank account to you for the good work of the lord,as i am not sure of making it this time around.quoting my personal reference numberJJ/MMS/953/5015/GwrI/316us/uk.I have paid for the state tax on this money to be transferred to you.
I need you to contact my lawyer immediately with my reference number,only then he can recognize you and work with you.
My lawyer's Name: Barrister Jay Mchenry
Phone:(+44)703 180 6710

God be with you

Anti-fraud resources: