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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:

Reply-To: <>
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2011 11:22:56 +0100
Subject: **Dear PCH Winner**

You are a winner of £1,000,000.00 Pounds Sterling (One Million Pounds Sterling) promotions organize 1st September by THE PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE AWARD 2011 Promotion. Kindly Contact MR.DONALD MATTHEWS with your Names, Address, Phone No to below Email: or call TEL:: +4470111 97275 or +447024059877 for details.

Sincerely Yours,

Cynthia James
United Kingdom PCH Award Director

Anti-fraud resources: