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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: "Richard Stephan" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2014 04:17:12 -1200
Subject: Notice of Bequest


My contact with you is in good faith and I assure you that my proposal will be of mutual benefit.

I am Richard Stephan, a Solicitor at Law, based in the United Kingdom.
I have a proposition that I would like to discuss with you.

Please contact me on my alternative email for more effective confidentiality.
Do well to respond via email or provide your telephone/fax numbers to enable me give you more details.

I appreciate your time and understanding.

Richard Stephan

Anti-fraud resources: