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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: "Government Paymernt Office" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2012 16:00:41 -0700


My name is John Fanzi, a consultant to the government on foreign
remittance payment. I am an heir hunter. Do you know that the Treasury
swallows $10bn every year from unclaimed estates for this reason, we teams
of heir hunter’s track down the owners of this money...

After proper verification through records of births, deaths and marriages
along with censuses, electoral registers and other documents, and with
your email address as the only contact detail on file; it has been
approved that you should receive an inheritance payment of $5,000,000.00
(Five Million United States Dollars).

If however, you have received a previous notice about any fund but you
have been unable to get your it for what so ever reason, please reply
immediately with your name, address and phone number, so that i can
process your transaction and facilitate the release of your fund to you
within 72 hours.

The bank (ZENITH BANK) would credit and provide you with an online account through
which the funds will be transferred to your nominated account abroad
within the next 72hrs.
Please send me a reply at my email address below with a means of
identification, so we can proceed with the claim.

John Fanzi

Anti-fraud resources: