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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: Rachel Cowan <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 16:16:00 +0400 (MSK)
Subject: URGENT


Sorry to bother you, am sorry for not informing you of my trip. Am in a terrible situation right now and will need your urgent help. I took an urgent trip to Limassol, Cyprus and I just misplaced my bag containing all my vital items, phone and money. I am trying to sort things out with the necessary authorities, I may need a little help from you.

Let me know if you can help.


Anti-fraud resources: