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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: "HMRC Online" (may be fake)
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:39:05 +0100
Subject: Notification of tax refund

Tax refund

HM Revenue & Customs

Notification of tax refund

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of:


Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 3 days in order to process it.
* To access the form for your tax refund, please click here

Please submit the tax refund form before: 30 August 2014

This email was sent to [[-Email-]].
Please do not reply to this message.
If you have any questions, please use our contact form.

HM Revenue & Customs
VAT Controller
VAT Central Unit

Anti-fraud resources: