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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: "Matthew Pothen" (may be fake)
Reply-To: <>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2018 07:50:49 -0800
Subject: Attention Required

I am 30 year old Syrian. In 2015 I amongst others fled Syria to Germany to seek asylum. After 6 months that my asylum case was looked into, I was refused asylum as the German government said I was not entitled to a refugee status, because of my educational background. I was returned back to Aleppo.
When I was coming to Germany to seek asylum, a bank manager in Byblos Bank Syria S.A gave 3 asylum seekers USD18,00,000,000.00(Eighteen Million United States Dollars) concealed in three different boxes, and wrapped with photographic film materials to enable pass through the borders on our way to Germany. We succceeded in going through the borders with the USD18,00,000,000.00(Eighteen Million United States Dollars) and deposited it in a security deposit company in Europe. Unfortunately the bank manager died and my other two asylum seekers died when we returned to Aleppo during an air strike by the Syrian government.
I am the only person alive that knows about this money and information regarding the money. I have the deposit certificate issued by the security deposit company. Upon your request I can send it to you as proof.
I want you to help claim these funds for the purpose of investing in your country. The proceeds of the investment will be sent to me here in Aleppo.
This transaction is presently known to only you and me and hence must be kept secret at all levels.
Please reply me so I can give you information of the money and how you can claim the fund.

Matthew Pothen
Aleppo Syria

Anti-fraud resources: