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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: Western Union Money Transfer <>
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 15:43:53 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Attention: E-mail owner,

Attention: E-mail owner,

We have concluded to effect your payment via Western Union Money Transfer,$5,000 twice daily until the total sum of $500,000.00 which we were mandated by the IMF to transfer to you is completely transferred. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is compensating all the SCAM VICTIMS and your email was found as one of the VICTIMS. We now needed your information as to where we will be sending the funds, such as; Receivers name (Your full name), address and phone number. Contact our Customer Care At ( with your full information. For enquiry call +229-93299975

Dir. Western Union Money Transfer
Cotonou, Republic of Benin.
Tel/Fax; +229-93299975

Anti-fraud resources: