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Nigerian Money Laundering Scam


I've put it off long enough. It's time to write about the African Money Laundering Scams. The most recent actually purported to be from Zimbabwe instead of Nigeria, which is unusual; most of these scammers seemed to have picked Nigeria as the most likely source of millions of dollars waiting to be laundered.

The title of the message was simply 'PRIVATE'. So of course I'm going to publish the letter here.

With warm heart I offer my friendship, and my greetings, and I hope this letter meets you in good time. It will be surprising to you to receive this proposal from me since you do not know me personally.

No, it's not at all surprising to me. Why, I receive proposals by email from twenty people a day that I don't know personally. Believe me; you're not unique.

My name is Mr.Frank Okere, the first son of Matimue Okere,of the most popular black farmer from Zimbabwe

In a pig's eye. Your name is John Smith, and your father is Mike Smith, and you're from Detroit, Michigan. Or Newark, New Jersey. You've never been to Zimbabwe in your life.

What follows is the spammer's description of how his father (the humble farmer) managed to stash away $14,500,000 before he was murdered by the evil president Robert Mugabe.

Now, our good friend Frank (AKA Mr. Smith) claims that he has escaped (barely escaped with his life) to the Netherlands, and the money has gone from Zimbabwe to South Africa to Netherlands, but supposedly the law in Netherlands does not permit refugees to be involved in business transactions (which makes perfect sense...after all, you would never want those refugees to ever reach the point where they are self-supporting, and don't need to rely on the government!) So he needs someone in the US to transfer the 14.5 million to.

In exchange for my assistance in laundering this money, what do I get?

For your assistance, I have two options for you. Firstly you can choose to have 10% of the money for your assistance, and helping me open an account for the money to be deposited here, or you can go into partnership with me
for the proper profitable investment of the money in your country. Whichever the option you want, please to notify me in your reply.

This particular scam has been going on for years. I first saw it in paper form (and actually postmarked from Nigeria) about 10 years ago.

The scam is perpetrated as follows: you contact Frank (AKA Mr. Smith), and you begin a series of emails back and forth as the two of you 'get to know each other'. Once a level of 'trust' has been built up, you begin making the actual plans to transfer the money. At some point Mr. Smith may tell you that he needs some cash to bribe a bank official. There goes a few thousand of your hard earned money.

There may be other 'little' expenses along the way, but it all culminates at the end when, at the last minute, just as you are about to make the transfer, something comes up, and for security reasons Mr. Smith explains that he has to be the one to make the transfer. Thus, he needs to have your bank account numbers and codes so he can do the transfer.

Ha ha.

Please, I want you to maintain the absolute secrecy for the purpose of this transaction.

Oops. I guess I wasn't supposed to tell.

A Helpful Hint
Having already seen about fifty variations on this, you already know that this is fake.

The nice thing about this scam is, since they require you to reply by email, you know they haven't forged the email address. So if it's a yahoo address, you can forward the email (with internet headers) to abuse@yahoo.com, and they'll cancel the account.

Thus Mr. Smith has spent all this time writing his email and collecting addresses for nothing because no one can reply to him.

Click here to read about a similar scam.

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