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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: "Andrea Brown" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2017 22:29:32 -0500
Subject: Re:Happy New Year

The Beneficiary,

Estate of Engr. Brian Thomas.

I wish to notify you that you were listed as a beneficiary to the bequest of Millions of dollars [Amount to be disclosed later] in the codicil and last testament of the deceased. The late Mr.Brian Thomas until his death was a former Managing Director and pioneer staff of a big construction company in China and later invested in poultry farm and rice.
He established himself as a wealthy farmer in Asia where he exported rice and other poultry produce. He was a very dedicated man and a great philanthropist during his lifetime. He involved himself in helping people by giving invest able loans in agriculture and health care ventures. Late Mr.Brian Thomas died on 9th March 2010 at the age of 78. He has since been buried on the 23rd of March 2010. He was a US citizen, lived in Asia all through his active years but later moved down to London UK due to long-term illness where he died in a specialist hospital. He was married but without a child and lost his wife in 1986 due to breast cancer.

He said in his words as stated in his last testament that "it is my desired wish to see that the poor and less privileged are given assistance by any means and limit this token could go, especially in Asia, Africa and South America having seen it all myself.
Please be informed that if the said amount is unclaimed over a period of time the bank will in turn confiscate the money, you know quite well that the bank will use the funds to pay their fat executive bonus leaving the poor masses suffering.
He therefore advised that 40% of the proceeds be used for charity annually, while 60% be retained by the beneficiary for his efforts, In my next email I will explain to you how the 60% will be utilized.
I will also like to bring to your notice that this transaction is not a scam and its risk free, I have all necessary information to back you up and will lead you all through this process, my next email will also direct you to the holding company ie the firm that hold the funds in question.
I hereby request that you reconfirm the information below for proper identification of your person

(1) Your current telephone/ cell phone numbers
(2) Your current forwarding address

Please note that this is for real.

Yours faithfully,

Andrea Brown (llb. Lon)
Estate of Brian Thomas

Anti-fraud resources: