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Nigerian Scams - What Are They?

When you are looking at a Nigerian scam, you will notice that the scam appears to originate with a wealthy Nigerian farmer, a wealthy Nigerian politician, the widow of a wealthy Nigerian politician or farmer, or the lawyer who represents the estate of a dead Nigerian politician or farmer.

It is important to note that not all Nigerian scams actually involve Nigeria; you may find that it is a wealthy South African farmer, or a wealthy politician from Zimbabwe. The actual origin is irrelevant.

What is relevant is that this person claims to have access, for one reason or another, to a very large sum of money, which he/she needs to get out of Nigeria (South Africa/Zimbabwe/etc), and your help is requested.

When this scam first came on the scene, it was in paper form, long before email became widely popular. It would arrive as a very official looking document postmarked from Nigeria. Now, of course, you simply don't know if the scam originates from Nigeria, some other African country, or perhaps even your neighbor down the street!

Many people got "caught" by this scam, because they thought being offered a few million dollars simply for letting someone dump a fortune in their bank account was just too good to be true.

It is too good to be true. The scammer does not have this money; he only wants to get your money. What you don't realize going into this is that, once the scammer has communicated with you enough to gain your trust, he's going to tell you "some unexpected fees have shown up." Maybe it's a security guard you need to bribe, or a bank fee you have to pay; regardless of what it is, the scammer will want you to pay it, as a sign of good faith. Of course, he has offered you nothing in return.

What to do when you get one of these? Delete it. Do not contact the scammer! And if you have already done so, contact the FBI immediately, with every piece of correspondence between you and the scammer.

A sample scam is shown below. Note that this scam is not truly "Nigerian", as it involves a banker in United Arab Emerates (UAE).

Nigerian Scam Sample

Greetings to your family,

This letter must come to you as a big surprise, but I believe it is only a day that people meet and become great friends/ business partners. I am Ali Raza Khan currently Head of Corporate Affairs Department with a reputable bank here in U. A. E. I write you this proposal in good faith, believing that I can trust you with the information I am about to reveal to you.

I have an urgent and very confidential business proposition for you. On June 5th, 2000, a German business tycoon Mr. Andreas Schranner made a (Fixed deposit) for 60 calendar months, valued at US$17,500,000.00 (Seventeen Million Five hundred Thousand Dollars only) in my bank and I happen to be his account officer before I was moved to my present position recently. The maturity date for this deposit contract was last 3rd of April 2005. Before this date, I have tried my possible best to locate a Next of Kin to late Mr. Schranner, but all efforts prooved abortive, because all his family, including his Son In-Law and children died in the plane crash of Concorde Air France Flight AF4590 which took place on 25th July 2000, some months after he did the deposit in my bank. You can read more story about the plane crash by visiting this website, [web address]

With the recent change of government in my country and with their efforts to support the United Nations in checkmating terrorism aid in the U. A. E. By end of October this year, the Government will pass a new Financial Control Law which will give the Government authority to interrogate account owners of above $5 million Dollars to explain the source of the funds, making sure it is not for terrorism support. If I do not move this money out of the country immediately, by October the Government will definitely confiscate the money, because my bank cannot provide the account owner to explain the source of the money since he is late.

I decided to utilise this lifet time opportunity, instead of Government confiscating the, but I cannot directly claim the money without the help of a foreigner and that is why I am contacting you for an assistance. As the Account Officer to late Mr. Schranner, coupled with my present position and status in the bank, I have the power to influence the release of the funds to any foreigner that comes up as the Next of Kin to the account, with the correct information concerning the account, which I shall give you. I am having the secret Code for the account, which only the account owner of his Next of Kin can know. I shall supply all necessary information we need for the claim and there is practically no risk involved, the transaction will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of law, beside U. A. E is porous and anything goes.

If you accept to work with me, I want you to state how you wish us to share the funds in percentage, so that both parties will be satisfied. I shall explain to you in details how we shall handle the transaction once I receive your response. Thanking you in advance and may God bless you. Please, treat with utmost confidentiality. I shall send you copy of the deposit certificate issued to Mr. Schranner when the deposit was made for your perusal. I wait your urgent response.

Ali Raza Khan.