Advance Fee Fraud-Nigerian Scam-419
On this page I shall try and explain about the various methods used by advance fee fraud (419) scammers to try to relieve normal people of their hard earned money and savings, by using many psychological tricks to make you part with your money willingly or gladly even.
The phrase 'Advance Fee Fraud' means that these people expect you to pay them relatively little, in advance of you receiving some fictitious huge amount of money for your services, claim or winnings.
These scams originated in Nigeria and are prevalent in many other West African countries, they are generally referred to as the 'Nigerian Scam'. The Nigerian authorities eventually outlawed these practices and made it a criminal offence, No. 419 on their law books. So now also these scams are also referred to by this number, i.e. '419 scams' and the criminals using these techniques are also referred to now as '419ers.'
These days however, many dishonest characters from many countries have now copied these techniques and even come up with some more plausible ones of their own, on these pages I shall try and give you as much information about these scams that I can and hopefully, as more people get to know about these sick scams, then we can put them out of business and they will have to work for a living, like the rest of us do.
These scams come in many formats, but they all have one thing in common, they offer you a large sum of money for doing what appears to be very little, other than helping someone in real need, or for you to pretend to be a business partner, or relative of some fictitious recently deceased, extremely wealthy person, or that you have just won some lottery that you never entered. This is all part of the psychological aspect of these scams, they play on a person's greed for money, their belief in their religious faith, their hope that their luck has changed for the better, or the natural response of a typical Westerner to help a person in need or danger.
A giveaway that these scammers tend to use, is that they like to write their emails completely in upper case characters, they must be under the mistaken impression that people seeing this will think that it is important, on the contrary, when I see an email in upper case characters, I always think "Here we go again, just another scam." Another giveaway is their misuse of English, they like to use the word 'informations' because they don't understand that the word information is plural. Another word they use when talking about fictitious bank personnel, lottery personnel, etc. is the word 'staffs', because again they do not know that the word staff is plural. The final giveaway that I am going to give here is the use of 'i' instead of 'I' when talking about themselves, they even do this when they are pretending to be a Westerner and it is a dead giveaway.
Below is an example of just one of these 419 scams that I received recently:
Good day and compliments, I am writing this letter in confidence believing that if it is the
wish of God for you to help me and my family, God almighty will bless and reward you
abundantly. My family and I are true Christians and worship's God truthfully. I got your
contact address from our Christians union office during my Research n some one who could
help us. Firstly, I must introduce myself I am a female student from University of Cotonou,
Benin Republic, I am 24 yrs old. I'd like any person who can be caring, loving and home
oriented. I will love to have a long-term relationship with you and to know more about you.
I would like to build up a solid foundation with you in time coming if you can be able to
help me in this transaction.
Well,my father died earlier three months ago and left my mother I and my junior brother
behind. He was a Royal king in our community, which our town citizens titled him before his
death. I was a princess to him and I and my brother are the only people who can take Care of
his wealth now because my mother is not literate enough to know all my father's wealth
behind. He left up to USD 2,250,000.00 dollars (Two Million, Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand
US Dollars)in one of the bank here, and I don't know how and what I will do to invest this
money somewhere in abroad, so that my father's kindred will not take over what belongs to
my father and our family, which they were planning to do without my present because I am a
female as stated by our culture in the town. They have succeeded in taken over all our father
properties here in Cotonou, but do not know of this Fund in bank. That is why I felt happy
when I saw your contact which I strongly believe that by the grace of God, you will help me
secure and invest this money. I there by needs your help in securing the consignment
containing the money out from the bank here in Benin Rep, for investment, based on your
reply I will furnish you with more details on how we can proceed. I am ready to offer you
30% of the total amount to you if you help us in securing this money and another 10% interest
of Annual Income to you, for handling this business for us, which you will strongly have
absolute control over. If you can handle this project sincerely and also willing to assist
me in lifting this fund, kindly reach me and I will let you know the next step to take
towards actualizing this transaction as quickly as possible. Please, note that this
transaction is 100% risk free.
PRINCESS MARIEAM MBAYE AND FAMILY
The way that they would expect you to react to this, is to feel sorry for them and to feel pleased at the thought of receiving a fairly large amount of money for doing nothing more than helping someone in need.
The way that this would typically run, is that you reply to them agreeing to help, then they send you the details of the account, the contact email address of the security company or bank manager and ask you to claim the funds in your name. The manager of the bank or security company will then typically reply by stating one of the following:
1. That you have to reinstate the dormant account, then the money will be transferred to your account within 72 hours.
2. That you have to have a local legal representative to act on your behalf.
3. That you have to pay demurrage charges before they can release the consignment.
4. That during the transfer a 'Stop Order' was processed due to there being no required anti-drug and anti-terrorist clearance certificate.
5. That the money will be transferred to you using a 'Diplomatic Courier' and they require a customs 'Yellow Tag Certificate'.
This is where the advance fee comes in, they will typically charge $1,000 $2000 $3,500 or more, it varies every time. They will ask you to send this money to usually their secretary and this is the first time that they use a real name, they ask you to send the money by Western Union or Moneygram money transfer system to their secretary's name and then forward the details of the transfer to them by email and they reaffirm that as soon as this money is received then the fictitious huge amount of funds will be transferred to your bank account immediately.
At this point they expect you to think that by just paying relatively very little money, that Millions of dollars will be in your bank account within a couple of days. I should explain to you here, that they have maybe hundreds or thousands of people like you on this same story, at the same time, then you can see the huge amount of money that these scammers fraud from people for doing no more than writing a few emails and forging a few deposit documents, which they already have stored on their computers ready to modify.
I have been playing with these people for more than five years now, just trying to keep them occupied and let them think that I am one of the usual gullible people that they will receive thousands of dollars from, they always end up disappointed with me, but it takes them usually about two weeks to realize.
The way that I psychologically defend myself against these people is, as in the email above, I do not visualize some poor young girl terrified by her relations, instead I visualize a group of drunken African males sitting around drinking whisky and laughing as they go over the content of the next email that will convince me that this really is some poor young girl. I have even received pictures of some demure young African female trying to convince me, but in my mind I always visualize a bunch of drunks giggling as they send the email attachment to me.
I have many more of these 419 stories to tell you and many more fictitious situations that they use, but this web page is newly uploaded today and I shall try and keep it updated in the future.
If you have any questions or want to tell me about any 419 experiences that you have had, then you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Advance Fee Fraud - Typical claimed scenarios
Business representative or Agent scam
This is a slightly different kind of scam. You are asked to represent a major manufacturing / exporting company from another country to collect payments due, from customers in your country in your bank account, you can even deduct your percentage, usually 10%, before transferring the remainder to the so-called "Company" by Western Union or Moneygram (untraceable). This looks like a genuine deal, you are not asked to pay any money up front and you collect your money before transferring the remaining 90% to the "Company" just for being an agent, it looks like a very good job. Well! When the real customer does not receive the goods that they have ordered and paid for, who is the only contact that they have details of? You are! So who are they going to claim the refund of their money from? You!! Then the so-called "Company" cannot be contacted anymore.
Click here to read about one that caused me problems, even though I was aware that it was a scam, click here to read it.
Above are just a few of the scams that I have experience of and there are probably many more that I don't have knowledge of yet. The basic rule that you should use when you receive an email offering you a fortune for doing very little, "If it looks to good to be true, then it probably isn't true."
New scam, this time you are contacted as the so-called genuine beneficiary from some deceased person's will
Stephanie Wells <email@example.com>
Delivery-Date: Saturday, October 20, 2007 4:42 PM
Subject: You Are The Next Of Kin.
International Law Chambers
Barrister and Solicitor
14 Adeyemo Alakija Street
This is an important notification for your immediate compliance.
A benefactor has bequeathed the sum of US$7.5 Million to you as Next of Kin.
It was the dying wish of your benefactor that we contact you after her demise and she also specifically instructed that all her funds in a financial institution here in Nigeria be sent to you via Certified Bank Cheque.
The identity of the benefactor will be made known to you after you receive the funds. This is according to the Agreement we signed with her when she made you the beneficiary of the funds.
As soon as you provide the information stated below, We shall send the NOTICE OF CLAIM to the Financial institution so that the Cheque will be raised and forwarded to your address.
For the purpose of confirmation and verification, Kindly reconfirm the following information below so that we can use it to cross check what we have on our file so as to ensure that the cheque is not sent to the wrong person.
The Requested Information are
1) Your Full Name:
2) Residential Address:
4) Telephone and Mobile Numbers:
I want to assure you under the penalty of perjury that the entire process of the transaction will be done in accordance with the law so that you will have no problems whatsoever when you receive the funds.
So, send the requested information asap.
*Usual advance fee thing, you have to pay to have the bank account of the deceased person activated again, in this case it was $960.
In conclusion, the Nigerian Scam?
Okay, so let us break these Nigerian (419) scams down into easy to understand modes of operation:
Do you honestly think that Nigerians came up with this scam by themselves, or are they just copying what they saw religious missionaries doing in their country over many years? Which I personally believe is the oldest scam in the world, thousands of years old. The Nigerians are just doing the same thing today cleverly, in a new guise and using new techniques, but using the same basic principles.
Supply and Demand!
Just think about it!
To my Legless Headquarters site
Other useful websites with information about these advance fee fraudsters are: