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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: Maxwell Thomas <>
Reply-To: Maxwell Thomas <>
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:18:06 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: BEQUEST


I am Maxwell Thomas and work with RE/MAX Alliance, Denver. We have a deceased client who died and left a huge estate, he bears an identical surname with you.

Since his death I have received several letters from the Bank where he deposited the fund before 
his death, to provide his next of kin or any of his relatives who can make claim to the funds 
before the end of the year or the Bank will be left with no option than to confiscate the fund and 
turn the money back to the state as unclaimed. I have conducted my personal 
search to see if I can make contact with any of his relatives but without success, it is in the 
course of my effort that I have to contact you.

I have closely checked and since you bear the same surname with my deceased client it will be 
better to present you as the next of kin and the right beneficiary of the funds in the account. I 
will provide you with all the necessary legal backing that is required until this money is paid 
out to you, and then we shall share it based on our agreement.

Do respond quick if you are interested or should you need further clarification because we have 
little time left.


Maxwell Thomas
(720) 446-8550

Anti-fraud resources: