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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: Chris Toby <>
Reply-To: <>
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2011 19:06:04 +0200
Subject: Job/business Opportunity/Offer

London, United Kingdom
Dear friend,
Sorry for intruding into your privacy. I'm Christopher Toby,I work with HSBC Southwark Park branch, London United Kingdom. Am also a member of the British bankers' association recently set up to look into growing number of dormant accounts/funds in UK banks due to either death of customers, with a view to locating relatives of the dead customers.
Study has shown that there are over 77 Million British Pounds, thats about hundreds of millions of Dollars, sloshing away in dormant & forgotten accounts in the UK alone. Read this article below:
My purpose of contacting you is regarding this particular customer who shares the same surname with you. This HSBC customer died in testate and nominated no inheritor in title over the huge deposits of US$8.5 Million made with HSBC UK. Thus,am contacting you because you share similar last name with the man in question, and that makes you relevant in the successful claim of the funds before it's declared unclaimed asset and seized by the British Government.
I can use my position at the bank to place you in a position to instruct HSBC UK to release the estate to you as a close cousin of the deceased. That is, I can simply nominate you as the beneficiary with right to claim the $8.5 Million US Dollars in the dormant account at HSBC Southwark,UK. I assure you that I could have the deposit released to you within few days once you accept this proposal.
Dear friend, I know this email will come as a surprise to you, because we have not met before, but I got your contact information from a web directory few weeks ago, and decided to contact you on this profitable business opportunity. Moreover, I have prayed and laid all my solemn trust in your capacity,and then decided to disclose this transaction in details, hoping that you will give me the benefit of doubt to proof to you that this proposal is 100% legit and genuine.
Such opportunities only come once in a lifetime and I cannot let this chance pass me by; since there is much profit to be gained from this project and it's a task well worth undertaking. Moreso, my daughter,12 years is scheduled for a major medical surgery that's going to cost fortunes. So I'll most likely need my 50% share of the  money to fix things, and start a new life afterwards. Note: 50% for you, and 50% for me.
Please do not betray my confidence on you. Kindly get back to me so that we can plan ahead on it. You can reply to my alternative email for confidentiality:
Please reply soon.
Christopher Toby

Anti-fraud resources: