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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: "Mr.Joaquim Rafael Branco" <>
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2013 11:51:56 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: Need Your Urgent Response.

Dear Sir,

Greetings. I am Joaquim Rafael Branco of Sao Tome & Principe. I am the
immediate past Prime Minister, under the Government of President Fradique
de Menezes.Acting in my previous capacity as minister of natural
resources, during the bidding for oil exploration rights in the gulf of
guinea by several oil companies, I assisted a particular company to obtain
one of the licenses .After their bid succeeded, they gave me 48 million$
in cash for my assistance. I cannot introduce or circulate this amount
into the banking system of my country because:

1. My provisional duty as a minister allows me to earn less than $1000
equivalent of Dobra (our local currency)

2. Strict stipulations of the Bureau of conduct guidelines and regulations
for Public/Civil servants.

3. Due to the intense competition during the bidding for the oil
exploration licenses at the time there are now investigations into how the
whole process was handled.

4. Furthermore, Groups of persons' in the Government and opposition
parties have ganged up against me, with false allegations of an intention
by me to contest the next presidential elections. This has caused dissent
and discontent in my party circles even though I am the present leader,
now prompting my decision to take flight with my family, hence my
soliciting your co-operation to take delivery of the funds into your
custody for investment purposes .25%of the entire funds will
be apportioned to you for your efforts and assistance.

I implore you to accord this transaction strict confidentiality and
secrecy it deserves no matter what your decision may be.

Awaiting your response with urgency!


Mr.Joaquim Rafael Branco
Former Prime Minister and President of the Movement for the Liberation of
Sao Tome and Principe/Social Democratic Party (MLSTP/PSD)
Sao Tome & Principe

Anti-fraud resources: