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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: alice dickson <>
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2014 15:55:23 +0000 (UTC)

Please take your time to read this message, i am the personal secretry to + Fr. Joseph Smith he asked  me to send this message to you as regard to the setuation of his present illness.

 Hello my dear Child although we have never met before, this is no spam. It's a real message sent to you. I know also that you will be amazed at the level of trust that I am willing to place in a person that I have never seen nor spoken with. My name is Joseph Smith  I have been a catholic priest for over 25 years. I had a heart surgery on the 23-11-2013 and the Doctors have just informed me that I cannot live longer; I had a serious bleeding after the operation. I have decided to give to you the total sum of $2.970.000.00 (Two million Nine Hundred and seventy Thousand US DOLLARS) which was deposited in my bank account by a dying elderly woman in my congregation.I want you to use this amount to make the world a better place for the poor and less privileged, help the needy and also help your family members. I took this decision because I was raised in an Orphanage so I don't have relatives and presently, I'm hospitalized at a Benin hospital, where I am undergoing treatment. That's why I have decided to contact you so that you can make good use of the money which I willed to you.
Now, the people around me are only waiting for me to die, so that they can use my money for their selfish interests. I hate evil minded people and that's why I want you to now contact my Lawyer with the information below:
Contact name: Hassan ousman .
Email address:
Office Address: Carré n°2 Avenue Steinmetz, Cotonou, Benin Republic.
He will direct you on what to do in order to receive funds immediately; I have passed on my instructions to him so feel free to contact him. Please make sure you contact my Lawyer, he is the only one that can respond to you in due time. I wish you the very best in life. Always pray for my soul to rest in perfect peace, I would be a very happy man even in death if you use these funds for Good work to help humanity. I am 78 years old now and have been good to everyone around...
Please assure me that you would help me carry on the good work.
+ Fr. Joseph Smith

Anti-fraud resources: