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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: "Vital Finance Cotonou" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2016 11:06:31 +0100

Vital Finance, Western Union Department
Address: Carre 548d - 02 Bp 1253 Tri Postal Cotonou,
Ph. +229 98 60 73 20
Fax. +229 982-90-123

Attn: Dear Customer...

You have won yourself the sum of US$1,000,000.00 from Western Union bonanza West Africa promo lottery 2016.

To claim your winning prize of US$1,000,000.00, get back to us with your information and cell phone number.

We await your reply immediately you read this message.

Best Regards,
Mr. Mark Hoffman
Vital Finance Cotonou
Benin branch manager
Ph. +229 98 60 73 20
Fax. +229 982-90-123

Anti-fraud resources: