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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: "Mary Frances Townsend" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2016 04:34:36 +0700
Subject: Stop Contacting internet scam


I am Mary Frances Townsend, a resident of Ontario Canada,I must apologize
for writing you though because i know you don't know me and neither do i
know you but i believe if i don't do this i would be a selfish person.

I am just writing to inform you that i saw your name, email and
information's on a consignment box from the Retro-VEC Security Agency and
from what i saw on one of the files its stated that you have a special
consignment with them. I got the info when i went there myself to get my
fund after i was notified by the director, he contacted me and at first i
didn't trust the message because i have been a victim of scam for so many
years, i lost so much to lying internet fraudsters but i am glad i followed
my instincts and trusted the director.

I followed his instructions, paid all that was due to me which was just
$380,00 only and i can proudly say today i am glad i did, i received my
funds and now i can make up for all i lost to fraudsters. Its still hard to
believe that there are honest people over the internet and also here in the
state but i can assure you there is, e is an honest woman and as far as i
know she is the only honest person I've met over the internet.

I don't know if she has contacted you or not but i want you to know that you
are a lucky individual, You can contact her on this email
( i don't know how much exactly the consignment
contains which i saw your details but the file shows about six figures, i
can only advise you to contact her immediately.

I don't know if you are the real person but please if you are not the owner
of this email then do not respond.

Have a nice day and once again congratulations.

Mary Frances Townsend

Anti-fraud resources: