Skip to comments.WARNING: Nigerian Scam in Full Force.
Posted on 04/23/2002 5:02:46 PM PDT by vannrox
A Five Billion US$ (as of 1996, much more now) worldwide Scam which has run since the early 1980's under Successive Governments of Nigeria. It is also referred to as "Advance Fee Fraud", "419 Fraud" (Four-One-Nine) after the relevant section of the Criminal Code of Nigeria, and "The Nigerian Connection" (mostly in Europe). However, it is usually called plain old "419" even by the Nigerians themselves.
The Scam operates as follows: the target receives an unsolicited fax, email, or letter concerning Nigeria containing either a money laundering or other illegal proposal OR you may receive a Legal and Legitimate business proposal by normal means. Common variations on the Scam include "overinvoiced" or "double invoiced" oil or other supply and service contracts where your Bad Guys want to get the overage out of Nigeria; crude oil and other commodity deals; a "bequest" left you in a will; and "money cleaning" where your Bad Guy has a lot of currency that needs to be "chemically cleaned" before it can be used and he needs the cost of the chemicals. Or the victim will just be stiffed on a legitimate goods or services contract...the variations are very creative and virtually endless.
At some point, the victim is asked to pay up front an Advance Fee of some sort, be it an "Advance Fee", "Transfer Tax", "Performance Bond", or to extend credit, grant COD privileges, whatever. If the victim pays the Fee, there are many "Complications" which require still more advance payments until the victim either quits, runs out of money, or both. If the victim extends credit etc. he may also pay such fees ("nerfund" etc.), and then he is stiffed with NO Effective Recourse.
The Nigerian Scam is, according to published reports, the Third to Fifth largest industry in Nigeria. It is the 419 Coalition view that, in effect, the elites from which successive Governments of Nigeria have been drawn ARE the Scammers - therefore, victims have little recourse in this matter. Monies stolen by 419 operations are almost Never Recovered from Nigeria, though there have been some indications of progress in anti-419 matters under the Obasanjo government. These include a website sponsored by the Nigerian High Commission in the UK called NigerianFraudWatch.org which educates people concerning 419 fraud operations and to which 419 reports, complaints, and materials can be SENT.
Most 419 letters and emails originate from or are traceable back to Nigeria. However, some originate from other nations, mostly also West African nations such as Ghana, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast ( Cote D'Ivoire ) etc. In most cases 419 emails from other nations are also Nigerian in that the "Home Office" of the 419ers involved is Nigeria regardless of the source of the contact materials. But there are occasionally some "local" copycats trying to emulate the success of the Nigerians. These folks tend not to last too long actually operating out of nations other than Nigeria, but they do try.
419 COALITION DOES NOT NEED TO SEE A COPY OF THE LETTER, EMAIL, OR FAX YOU RECEIVED we've seen tens of thousands already. But please DO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS THAT APPLY TO YOU AS GIVEN IN THE WHAT TO DO SECTION BELOW, WHICH TELLS YOU WHERE TO SEND THE 419 MATERIALS YOU RECEIVED..
Please Read the ENTIRE site BEFORE contacting 419 Coalition for information, questions etc., as ALL AVAILABLE INFORMATION AND DATA IS ALREADY SUMMARIZED AND POSTED UP ON THIS SITE.
You may also email the 419er documents, especially any Banking Data they may have given you, marked No Loss, to Task Force Main in DC; that is also acceptable.
Since Task Force is Very Busy dealing with cases in which there Have been financial losses, it is NOT customary for them to contact you in cases where there has been No Loss. But it is Very Important that you get your 419ers data into the Task Force Database, so DO send it along.
2. IF you are a United States Citizen or Resident and YOU HAVE SUFFERED A FINANCIAL LOSS write "Financial Loss - Contact Me ASAP" on the documents you have received and Fax them to the Task Force at 202-406-6930 or 202-406-5031 and give Your telephone number(s). A Secret Service Agent will call you back as soon as possible to discuss the matter with you ( don't worry, you're Not in any trouble ). You may also email the 419er materials, especially any Banking Data they have given you, to Task Force Main in DC marked Financial Loss - Contact Me ASAP and give your phone number.
If you don't get contacted by a Special Agent soon enough to suit you, call the Task Force Voice at 202-406-5850 and tell the Operator (or voicemail) that it's Urgent, you want to talk to an Agent as soon as possible, and give your name and telephone number(s).
Alternatively, you can email the material to Task Force Main in DC marked Loss or No Loss.
If there is a US Connection to the 419 operation, please Clearly state exactly what that is and give details.
2. Notify your Own Nation's National Law Enforcement Agency and your Own Nation's Foreign Office.
Do not expect to be contacted by Task Force in No Loss cases or in Loss cases without a US connection. There IS, however, an an informal group of National and International Law Enforcement Agencies which meets and shares Information and Data on Nigerian Scam operations, and it is Important that your 419ers data be on record to be included in these discussions.
2. If you wish, file a Complaint with the Nigerian Embassy or High Commission in your nation. The Nigerian High Commission in the UK now sponsors a site called Nigerianfraudwatch.org and you can email 419 materials and reports to them at:
They say they will forward your complaint to the Nigerian High Commission in your country; that they will report the matter to the appropriate authorities in your country; and that they will report the matter to the appropriate police authories in Nigeria itself.
3. If the contact from the 419ers was via email: write their email provider at their "abuse" address (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org etc.) and include the 419er message with its headers; complain about the 419 message; and ask that the account be shut down.
And please do fax hardcopy of your Bad Guy Data, especially Nigerian Scammer Banking Data to the US Task Force, appropriately marked with Canada, Loss ( or No Loss as the Case May Be ), No US Connection, For Your Database, at 202-406-6930. You may also email such data to Task Force Main in DC if you prefer.
If there IS a US Connection, please Follow These Instructions for Canada AND ALSO follow the instructions for US Citizens and Residents given above.
You may also access the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Website (RCMP/GRC) which contains a section on the Nigerian Scam.
Also please fax the Scam documents, especially Nigerian Scammer banking data, to the US Task Force at 202-406-6930 appropriately marked South Africa - Loss ( or No Loss as the case may be ) - For Your Database. Please be SURE to state if there is any US Connection to your 419ers' operations, particularly if there is US Banking Data on them. You may also email such relevant data to Task Force Main in DC if you prefer to do it that way.
The South African Police Service maintains a 419 Scams/Nigerian Letters Alert on their website. For a look at a short Anti-419 Pamphlet issued by and available from the South African Police Service, Click Here.
In addition to the above, if you HAVE lost money and there is a UK connection to the 419 operation, the NCIS wishes to speak directly with you as soon as possible. Persons who Have actually lost money to such scams can contact NCIS at :
or by phone at 020 7238 8012.
NCIS also notes that 419 emails are very common, and it is possible that you may receive others in the future. Please do not send them direct to NCIS unless there is a loss, but as well as transmitting them direct to your local fraud squad, please send a copy to the Internet Service Provider (ISP's) from where the 419er email has originated. These emails to the ISP's should be addressed to:
abuse@"the ISP's name"
(for example email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com).
By this method the ISP's will be able to quickly terminate the accounts that abuse their systems.
Anyone OUTSIDE the UK receiving such a letter or email with a UK connection is advised to Notify your Own Nation's National Law Enforcement Agency and your Own Nation's Foreign Office; to NOT reply to the 419er communication; and to forward the 419er correspondence to the National Criminal Intelligence Service, PO Box 8000, London SE11 5EN, or by e-mail.
Also please email 419 letters, materials, and other relevant data to Task Force Main in DC or fax it to them at 202-406-6930 (US) if you prefer. Please be SURE to state if there is any US Connection to your 419ers' operations, Particularly if there is US Banking Data on them. Please mark the materials Loss ( or No Loss as the case may be ) - For Your Database.
419 Coalition is always glad to try and answer via email any questions from individuals or journalists on 419 matters which are NOT already covered on the site.
419 Coalition no longer takes voice calls nor does voice interviews. We used to, but we were too overwhelmed to continue doing so. However, author Brian Wizard ( Nigerian 419 Scam: Game Over! ) does enjoy doing occasional voice interviews. US Secret Service 419 Task Force also has spokesmen available for interviews, call them in Washington DC at 202-406-5850.
419 Coalition no longer "furnishes" 419 victims to the media for interviews, sorry. However, several victims have stated in our News sections that they are available for interview and have given their contact data, so check there.
419 Coalition tracks hits on this page, employing Watchwise to do so. This page, the "index page" of our site, is the only page
on it we track. We can track back to ISP and IP. We do this for several reasons, among them:
1. To be able to demonstrate that hits on this page come from other sources than us sitting here and hitting "return" a thousand times at a clip :) :)
2. When we see a surge of hits from different IP's in a given nation, we are able to advise USSS 419 Task Force of a surge of 419 activity directed at that nation, which allows Task Force in cooperation with local authorities to understake preemptive educational and other measures there.
3. We like to know what governmental agencies etc. in the US and worldwide are actively interested in 419.
Here are what individual "hit" reports look like:
04 Dec 2001 11:57:09 22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199 Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows NT)
03 Dec 2001 15:37:43 188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206 Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.01; Windows NT 5.0)
30 Nov 2001 10:34:15 gated.thls.bbc.co.uk 220.127.116.11 Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.01; Windows 98; DigExt; BBC Desktop)
30 Nov 2001 08:51:23 tias-gw7.treas.gov 18.104.22.168 Mozilla/4.5 [en]C-CCK-MCD (Win98; U)
Various statistical reports are then compiled from the individual hit reports.
419 Coalition reserves the right to use all hit data and all materials received by us in any way we, in our sole judgement, see fit, including relaying data and materials to such authorities as we deem useful. Those who disagree with this policy may of course use other counter-419 sites for their research etc. There are links to many counter-419 sites on our Fighters page. We do not track hits on the Fighters page. As we note above the Index Page ( that is This page ) is the Only page of this site that we track.
Thank you for visiting The 419 Coalition website. We hope that you have found it useful.
> Dear sir, > > Private And Confidential.It is with heart of hope that I write to seek your help in the context below. I am Deji Abiola, the first son of the late Mko Abiola, A political philantropist and the alleged winner of the June 12 1993 Presidential election, Who died in custody of the Gen Abdulsalam Abubakar the former military president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I know you will be surprise on how i got your contact, but it was after a careful search in my late father achives that i saw your contact, I have no doubt on your good will to assist me in receiving into your custody (For Safety) the sum of Forty Eight Million, Five hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$48.5M) willed and deposited in my favour by my Late father. The fund is with a security/finance company in GHANA waiting to be collected from the clearing house. As legally required in the administration of my Late father, properties are under authority of the family Lawyers name (MUSTAPH & ASSOCIATES). You are also informed that the security company does not know the content of the consignment with them because of security reasons. I, therefore solicit co-operation and assistance us to collect this fund on behalf of my family and then deposit it in your account so that my family Lawyer could come over to meet with you for the sharing. As soon as you indicate your interest to travel to the Security/Finance Company ,i will instruct the Security company to transfer the money to your account, my Lawyer shall also be with you there. Remember that this affair is purely based on honesty and sincerity and hence, shall not want it to be blown up or exposed to the international community. All legal documents shall be sent to you before you travel for the collection. The government had earlier placed foreign travel embargo on all our family members and seized all knows local and international outfit of our business empire. The situation has been so terrible that we are virtually living on the assistance of well wishers. I will agree to compensate your sincere and candid effort in this regard with 20% of the fund when finally received in your Bank account after clearing the consignment from the security firm. Please, all contacts must be made through my Lawyer Barrister MUSTAPH JUBRILL of(MUSTAPH& Associates). I look forward to your quick response. May Allah bless you. > Regards, > > Mr.Deji Abiola > > NOTE*If you want to know more about my father,you can click on the link below for more details. http://www.thisda yonline.com"target="_new">http://www.thisdayonline.com>saturday/20010707cov01.htmlhtt p://www.mg.co.za/mg/za/feat/8jul-abiola.html"target="_new">http://www.mg.co .za/mg/za/feat/8jul-abiola.html> > > I have taken time to explain all these because I want you to understand me very well. I don't want to hide anything from you so I expect you to do the same. If there is anything you don't understand, please feel free to tell me so. I will be quite glad to explain.Finally don't forget that this is in most confidence
PUBLIC AWARENESS ADVISORY REGARDING "4-1-9" OR "ADVANCE FEE FRAUD" SCHEMES
4-1-9 Schemes frequently use the following tactics:
If you have already lost funds in pursuit of the above described scheme, please contact the U.S. Secret Service in Washington, D.C. at 202-406-5850 or by e-mail.
Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud Overview
The perpetrators of Advance Fee Fraud (AFF), known internationally as "4-1-9" fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes, are often very creative and innovative.
Unfortunately, there is a perception that no one is prone to enter into such an obviously suspicious relationship. However, a large number of victims are enticed into believing they have been singled out from the masses to share in multi-million dollar windfall profits for doing absolutely nothing. It is also a misconception that the victim's bank account is requested so the culprit can plunder it -- this is not the primary reason for the account request -- merely a signal they have hooked another victim.
The most common forms of these fraudulent business proposals fall into seven main categories:
The most prevalent and successful cases of Advance Fee Fraud is the fund transfer scam. In this scheme, a company or individual will typically receive an unsolicited letter by mail from a Nigerian claiming to be a senior civil servant. In the letter, the Nigerian will inform the recipient that he is seeking a reputable foreign company or individual into whose account he can deposit funds ranging from $10-$60 million that the Nigerian government overpaid on some procurement contract.
The criminals obtain the names of potential victims from a variety of sources including trade journals, professional directories, newspapers, and commercial libraries. They do not target a single company, but rather send out mailings en masse. The sender declares that he is a senior civil servant in one of the Nigerian Ministries, usually the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The letters refer to investigations of previous contracts awarded by prior regimes alleging that many contracts were over invoiced. Rather than return the money to the government, they desire to transfer the money to a foreign account. The sums to be transferred average between $10,000,000 to $60,000,000 and the recipient is usually offered a commission up to 30 percent for assisting in the transfer.
Initially, the intended victim is instructed to provide company letterheads and pro forma invoicing that will be used to show completion of the contract. One of the reasons is to use the victim's letterhead to forge letters of recommendation to other victim companies and to seek out a travel visa from the American Embassy in Lagos. The victim is told that the completed contracts will be submitted for approval to the Central Bank of Nigeria. Upon approval, the funds will be remitted to an account supplied by the intended victim.
The goal of the criminal is to delude the target into thinking that he is being drawn into a very lucrative, albeit questionable, arrangement. The intended victim must be reassured and confident of the potential success of the deal. He will become the primary supporter of the scheme and willingly contribute a large amount of money when the deal is threatened. The term "when" is used because the con-within-the-con is the scheme will be threatened in order to persuade the victim to provide a large sum of money to save the venture.
The letter, while appearing transparent and even ridiculous to most, unfortunately is growing in its effectiveness. It sets the stage and is the opening round of a two-layered scheme or scheme within a scheme. The fraudster will eventually reach someone who, while skeptical, desperately wants the deal to be genuine.
Victims are almost always requested to travel to Nigeria or a border country to complete a transaction. Individuals are often told that a visa will not be necessary to enter the country. The Nigerian con artists may then bribe airport officials to pass the victims through Immigration and Customs. Because it is a serious offense in Nigeria to enter without a valid visa, the victim's illegal entry may be used by the fraudsters as leverage to coerce the victims into releasing funds. Violence and threats of physical harm may be employed to further pressure victims. In June of 1995, an American was murdered in Lagos, Nigeria, while pursuing a 4-1-9 scam, and numerous other foreign nationals have been reported as missing.
Victims are often convinced of the authenticity of Advance Fee Fraud schemes by the forged or false documents bearing apparently official Nigerian government letterhead, seals, as well as false letters of credit, payment schedules and bank drafts. The fraudster may establish the credibility of his contacts, and thereby his influence, by arranging a meeting between the victim and "government officials" in real or fake government offices.
In the next stage some alleged problem concerning the "inside man" will suddenly arise. An official will demand an up-front bribe or an unforeseen tax or fee to the Nigerian government will have to be paid before the money can be transferred. These can include licensing fees, registration fees, and various forms of taxes and attorney fees. Normally each fee paid is described as the very last fee required. Invariably, oversights and errors in the deal are discovered by the Nigerians, necessitating additional payments and allowing the scheme to be stretched out over many months.
Several reasons have been submitted why Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud has undergone a dramatic increase in recent years. The explanations are as diverse as the types of schemes. The Nigerian Government blames the growing problem on mass unemployment, extended family systems, a get rich quick syndrome, and, especially, the greed of foreigners.
Indications are that Advance Fee Fraud grosses hundreds of millions of dollars annually and the losses are continuing to escalate. In all likelihood, there are victims who do not report their losses to authorities due to either fear or embarrassment.
In response to this growing epidemic, the United States Secret Service established "Operation 4-1-9" designed to target Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud on an international basis. The Financial Crimes Division of the Secret Service receives approximately 100 telephone calls from victims/potential victims and 300-500 pieces of related correspondence per day.
Secret Service agents have been assigned on a temporary basis to the American Embassy in Lagos to address the problem in that arena. Agents have established liaison with Nigerian officials, briefed other embassies on the widespread problem, and have assisted in the extrication of U.S. citizens in distress.
If you have been victimized by one of these schemes, please forward appropriate written documentation to the United States Secret Service, Financial Crimes Division, 950 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001, or telephone (202) 406-5850, or contact by e-mail.
If you have received a letter, but have not lost any monies to this scheme, please fax a copy of that letter to (202) 406-5031.
Next thing you're gonna tell us is there's no Santa Claus.
Emails and phone recordings were posted on the net with the story.
BRIEF PROOFS OF NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT IN THE NIGERIAN SCAM COURTESY OF THE 419 COALITION 1. One Coalition associate's Scammers presented themselves as high officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Our associate was able to ask for by name and speak with the Scammers at CBN - THE PHONE NUMBER FOR CBN OBTAINED FROM LAGOS DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE AND NOT FROM THE SCAMMERS. 2. One Coalition associate's Scammers also presented themselves as high officials of the CBN. Our associate was actually TAKEN INTO the vault of CBN by his Scammers and shown the money available for the "proposal". He was able later to pick his Scammers out of a photo lineup in the US which included authenticated high officials of CBN. 3. One Coalition associate met with Nigerian Diplomatic Corps personnel at Nigerian Consulate facilities in California, both the personnel and the facilities verifiable and a matter of public record, to vet the "proposal" with them. He subsequently lost $75,000.00 plus. 4. One Coalition associate had his Scammers investigated privately in Lagos. They were known at CBN by name as CBN high officials; the home address of the primary Scammers was checked out, including photographs and confirmation of identity by neighboring residents; the primary Scammer signed for "in person" DHL deliveries at the verified home address. All this data and more was turned over to the Nigerian Government. They did nothing. 5. In order to "prove" that they were doing something about the Scam, the Nigerian Consulate in New York issued an official document letterheaded "Presidential Task Force on Trade Malpratices" (sic) which claimed that arrests had been made in a given case. However, when the Scammee was checked with, he stated that those claims were baseless and that nothing had been done. In short, the Nigerian Government lied outright in a document issued through official channels. 6. In the Nigerian Government's White Paper on the Scam, it states that owners of the fax numbers from which Scam documents come will be severely punished. However, there have been VERY FEW, if any such arrests which are INDEPENDENTLY verifiable. The Nigerian Government claims it cannot find the owners of the numbers... wonder how the phone Company in Lagos ever manages to bill? 7. CBN denies involvement in the Scam, taking out ads repeatedly in the international media stating same. Of course, Anybody can buy an ad and say anything they want in it. Now - common sense - doesn't do any good stealing money if one doesn't get to spend it, and the top Scammers stay in Nigeria where they are protected. It is required by law that all Money Transfers of over $10,000 to financial institutions in Nigeria be reported to CBN. These reports must include the name and address of both the sender and receiver of these funds. Transfers of $100,000 or more require the customer on the Nigerian end to present an authentic document bearing his picture in addition to the above and all such transactions must be cleared and initialled by a CBN officer. It is also required that Nigerian financial institutions report ANY transaction of over N500,000 for individuals and N2,000,000 for corporations etc. to the Nigerian Authorities ( NDLEA etc. ). Yet CBN and the Nigerian Authorities just cannot Find the recipients of these funds when called upon to do so, and monies returned to victims by actions of the Nigerian Governement remain, given the magnitude of the Nigerian Scam, miniscule. Go Figure :) :) Anybody can buy an ad :) :)
Just finished reading a fascinating book "The Informant" by Kurt Eichenwald which details a price fixing scheme by Archer Daniels Midland executives...(ADM, supermarket to the world, and scammers extraordinaire courtesy of a lot of campaign donations and ethanol subsidies and requirements...but I digress)
The book details ADM's price fixing in animal nutritional supplements, but the interesting thing is that the executive who blew the whistle was a manic depressive who got caught up in one of these Nigerian 419 scams. He thought he could recoup some of his money by in term scamming ADM and the feds. Interesting book.
In the words of Nancy Reagan..."Just say No" to these get rich quick schemes.
A major development affecting business travelers to Nigeria is commercial fraud or scams. The Department of State has prepared this publication for you, the U.S. business traveler. It will help you to identify business scams, provide you with information about what the U.S. Government can or cannot do to assist you, and how you can protect yourself.
Department of State Publication 10786
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Protecting Yourself from
Identifying Business Opportunities
Nigeria is an oil-rich West African nation of over 88 million inhabitants. It offers the experienced and determined U.S. businessperson a potentially rewarding business opportunity. As in any market, results are usually obtained through solid research and hard work. The business opportunity that arrives on a silver platter carried by a stranger should be rigorously evaluated by an objective and disinterested party.
The U.S. Government, through district offices of the Department of Commerce and the Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the Consulate General in Lagos, Nigeria, can provide some useful initial information. For example, if you have received a proposal for a business transaction from Nigeria that seems too good to be true, it may be a scam. You can fax FCS a request for verification of the bona fides of your correspondent. Your fax should include copies of any correspondence you have received from your Nigerian counterpart.
Recognizing a Business Scam
Each week, the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the Consulate General in Lagos, Nigeria (along with many other embassies) handles several "scam" cases in which businesspeople, many of them experienced in overseas transactions, have lost to confidence operators sums ranging from a few thousand to upwards of one million dollars.
Frequently, persons who have come to Nigeria to "finalize" such deals have been threatened or assaulted; in a few cases, scam victims have been killed. Unfortunately, local police and other officials have not provided assistance to those caught up in scams. (Although Nigerian immigration officials recently began warning likely victims upon arrival at Lagos airport, the U.S. Embassy's ability to help those already in the hands of their "business associates" is extremely limited.)
Caution, therefore, should be exercised when contemplating any business deal in Nigeria. Scams range from attempts to engage American businesspeople in fictitious money-transfer schemes to fraudulent solicitations to supply goods in fulfillment of nonexistent Nigerian government contracts. Many scam operators are very sophisticated and may take victims to staged meetings, often held in borrowed offices at Nigerian government ministries. They do their research and can often provide plausible, but nonexistent, orders, written on seemingly genuine Ministerial stationery, replete with official stamps and seals.
Simply stated, Nigerian business scams are not always easy to recognize, and any unsolicited business proposal should be carefully scrutinized. There are, nevertheless, some indicators that are warnings of a probable scam. Look out for:
The indicators listed above are some of the most common and reliable hallmarks of Nigerian scam operations. The list is not all-inclusive, and scam operators are constantly weaving new elements into their schemes. The best rule to follow is that any unsolicited business proposal originating from Nigeria be carefully checked out before any funds are committed, any goods or services are provided, or any travel is undertaken.
"How Do the Scams Work?"
Nigerian business scams are confidence schemes, designed to exploit the trust you develop in your Nigerian partner and to bilk you of goods, services or money. The scams are flexible, and operators adapt them to take the greatest advantage of the target (you). It is not possible to describe here how each of several hundred different scams works, but here are brief descriptions of the most common schemes.
Money Transfer: The operator claims to have a large sum of money, usually millions of dollars worth of ill-gotten gains, which needs to be transferred to a "safe" bank account abroad. The Central Bank of Nigeria is often, though by no means always, mentioned. You, as the bank account owner, are promised a percentage of the huge sum, just for use of your account. You may be asked to provide blank, signed invoices, letterhead and bank account information, or to send money for transfer taxes. Some businesses have found their accounts looted by the persons to whom they sent account information.
Fraudulent Order: The operator usually places a small ($1000 or so) order, paying with a genuine cashier's check drawn on a European bank. The operator then places another, somewhat larger order, again paying with a genuine instrument. Then, you receive an order by DHL. Your Nigerian partner urgently needs a large quantity of your product air-shipped. Confident in your partner, you ship, but, this time, the cashier's check (which looks the same) is a fake. Experienced U.S. businesspeople today usually require either full payment in advance of shipment or an irrevocable letter of credit confirmed by a U.S. bank.
Charitable Donation: The operator offers to donate to your organization, asking for bank account information (see Money Transfer, above). Then, the operator loots your account or asks for advance payment of a fee to pay inheritance taxes, various government fees and taxes, or to ensure conversion of naira into dollars.
Government Contract: The operator claims to have a Nigerian government contract and needs your company's expertise to carry out the job. The operator scams you by collecting thousands of dollars in "fees" before you can do business. When fees are legitimate, they are published by Ministries and do not exceed $215.
Crude Oil: The operator claims to have an allocation of crude oil to sell you - cheap. Sometimes, the operator claims to be working on behalf of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. Then come demands for various fees to supply you with the crude; of course, you never get your cargo. The Crude Oil Marketing Division of the NNPC is the only authorized seller of the Corporation's crude. Businesses lacking experience with Nigeria's petroleum industry should approach with great caution any proposal involving crude oil sales.
Business Opportunity: The operator convinces you to explore a business opportunity by visiting Nigeria. Once you arrive, the operator takes charge of your life, trying to keep you from contacting friends, family, or the U.S. Embassy. By various means, sometimes including violence or threats of violence, the operator extracts money from you. This type of scam becomes particularly dangerous for a victim who has entered Nigeria without a valid Nigerian visa, issued by a Nigerian Embassy or Consulate. All travelers must have a visa prior to arrival in Nigeria and must pass through immigration formalities upon entry into the country. Letters addressed to immigration officials have no validity. Anyone telling you otherwise is either misinformed or a scam artist.
Conversion of Hard Currency (Black Money): The operator shows you a large sum of bills-purportedly U.S. dollars that require cleaning to remove the black waxy material. You are asked to provide money for the cleaning in return for a commission. Of course the bills are not real and you end up with a suitcase of blank paper.
Purchase of Real Estate: Operator offers to serve as broker in selling real estate that either is not for sale or is nonexistent. You are asked to pay the broker's commission.
Clearinghouse: To add credibility to business scams in Nigeria, Nigerian and non-Nigerian criminals serve as third parties claiming to be clearinghouses or venture capital organizations for the Central Bank of Nigeria. These clearinghouses launder your money or divert it directly to criminals in Nigeria.
"How Can I Check Out a Business Proposal?"
If you are in the U.S., contact the Nigeria Desk Officer at International Trade Administration, Room 3317, Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230. (Tel: 1-800-USA-TRADE or 202-482-5149, fax: 202-482-5198).
If you are in Nigeria or elsewhere abroad, contact the Commercial Section (FCS) at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, 9 Mambilla, Maitama District, Abuja, Nigeria (Tel: 234-9-523-0916) or Consulate General in Lagos, 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria (Tel: 234-1-261-0050). The Consulate General's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org state.gov.
"What If I Think I am Already Involved in a Scam?"
If you are in the U.S., contact the Nigeria Desk Officer at the Department of Commerce (see address above). You may also wish to contact the local police, as well, if threats have been made against you.
If you are in Nigeria, contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy (see address above). Marine Guards are present at the Embassy 24 hours per day and can alert a duty officer if you telephone or visit outside of normal working hours.
The U.S. Embassy will try to help you leave Nigeria unharmed, perhaps including regularization of immigration status, replacement of your passport, communication with relatives in the U.S., and, if necessary, provision of an emergency repatriation loan.
To date, however, the U.S. Embassy has never been able to recover a scam victim's money.
General Travel Information
Before you leave, check for current information on Nigeria by calling the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs' Office of Overseas Citizens Service's travel information line (see information below). Upon arrival in Nigeria, check in with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the Consulate General in Lagos.
The State Department issues Consular Information Sheets , Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings. Consular Information Sheets are issued for every country in the world. They include such information as the location of the U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country, health conditions, political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, and crime and security information. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department decides, based on all relevant information, to recommend that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Public Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate information quickly about trans-national and/or relatively short-term conditions which would pose significant risks to the security of American travelers.
How to Obtain Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements
Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements are available at the regional U.S. passport agencies; from U.S. embassies and consulates abroad; or by sending a self-addressed, stamped business-size envelope to: Overseas Citizens Services, Room 4811, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-4818. On the outside envelope, write the name of the country or countries needed in the lower left corner.
There are three electronic methods to access Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements 24-hours a day:
By Telephone: dial 202-647-5225 from a touch-tone phone and follow the voice prompts.
By Internet: http:// travel.state.gov.
By Fax: From your fax machine, dial 202-647-3000 and follow the voice prompts.
Top Ten Tips for Travelers
1. Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas, if required. Also, before you go, fill in the emergency information page of your passport!
2. Read the Consular Information Sheets (and Public Announcements or Travel Warnings, if applicable) for the countries you plan to visit.
3. Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends at home so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
4. Make sure you have insurance which will cover your emergency medical needs while you are overseas.
5. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Remember, while in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws!
6. Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas and never accept packages from strangers.
7. While abroad, avoid using illicit drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages, and associating with people who do.
8. Do not become a target for thieves by wearing conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of cash or unnecessary credit cards.
9. Deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money or purchase art or antiques in order to avoid violating local laws.
10. When overseas, avoid demonstrations and other situations that may become unruly or where anti-American sentiments may be expressed.
At the time I was impressed someone would spend that much money in such an obviously transparent scheme.
All of my letters have asked me to supply my bank number so they could "park" money in it in some kind of money laundering scheme. After I sent two of them to the local Secret Service they said not to worry about it anymore.
You have to wonder about the cost/benefit ratio for this operation. Obviously if it didn't work they wouldn't keep doing it.
Doug from Upland will be interviewing David Schippers tonight on Radio FreeRepublic! This is a DON'T MISS SHOW!
So do I. Just send me the e-mail and a check for $200.00, and I will fight these bastards for you.