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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: The Gates Foundation <>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2014 05:42:35 +0530
Subject: Gates Foundation Donation Draws

The Gates Foundation's Regional Office in West Africa has received a
grant of Nine Hundred Million US Dollars ($900,000,000.00 USD) from the
foundation's head office in the USA to be extended to 1000 individuals
and parastatals worldwide.

To apply for the grant, send your name, phone number(s) and country of
residence to the Regional Manager Barrister Elizabeth Bradley on the
following email: or call (+234) 817-9944240.

Anti-fraud resources: