Although this scam has its root from Nigeria dated a decade
back, nowadays, you receive similar scam letters from many African
countries, notably, Nigeria, Benin, Togo and even South Africa.
The subject lines of these emails are pretty similar. Something like:
Business relationship, Urgent Assistance needed, Soliciting for your
assistance, A cry for help etc. Most of the emails from this scam begin in
the same way. Here are two excerpts from most recent emails that we
"I am Engr Moses Ekpen a director in the budget and
planning department of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum and Natural
Resources (FMPNR), I had a seven man Tenders Board Committee in charge of
contract award and Payment approvals. I came to know of you in my search for
a reliable and reputable person to handle a very confidential transaction,
which involves the transfer of a huge sum of money to a foreign account."
"I am Mrs. Mariam Abacha, the widow of Gen. Sani Abacha, The
Late Nigerian Military Head of State. You were introduced to me through the
Chamber of Commerce. I am presently in distress and under House arrest while
my son Mohammed is undergoing trial in Lagos and Abuja. He is presently
detained in prison custody. The government has frozen all the family account
and auctioned all our properties.
To save the family from total
bankruptcy I have managed to ship to Europe and Asia through a Shipping
company, the sum of US20, 000,000.00 respectively kept by my late husband."
The essence of these emails are also basically the same – the person
although does not know you, thanks to your business reputation, has decided
to contact you with a very confidential proposal to transfer a mind boggling
amount of money from his country to any foreign land.
be numerous stories but the bottom line is they require your help to
transfer the amount. For your service they will promise you something from
10 to 40% of the whole amount. There would be a telephone no or an email
address to contact the person.
You may wonder how they swindle
There are various ways that the crooks rip off their
victims. Some of the most commons ones of them are described below:
They will ask you to open a bank account under their name. On their second
step, they will ask you to deposit a sum of say US$ 10000 to that account,
explaining if the account does not have any decent amount, the officials
those who are responsible for transferring the promised millions of dollars
would become suspicious and won’t authorize the transaction. Once you
deposited the asked sum, they simply withdraw it and disappear. Usually they
choose a bank where they might have some connections. So you, after losing
your money, do not get any help from the bank either.
ask you to send some merchandize or gifts for the officials they need to
bribe in order to make the transactions of the assumed millions of dollars
smoothly. Naturally, you never hear from them once you sent the requested
gifts to their address.
We even heard stories like this one: A
man was persuaded to come to Nigeria to look after the transaction by
himself. Over there he was kept hostage until he shifted all his liquid
assets to the thugs.
Looking at the increasing quantity of scam
emails that we receive, this only convinces that many fall for this
seemingly simple trap. According to FBI these swindlers have defrauded
millions of dollars from gullible people.
There could be other
variations of this scam, next time you read an email that feels suspicious,
just delete it! There are other ways of making money!
of cautions! Although most of these scams originate from African countries,
please do not generalize and consider that all companies form these
countries are bad. As usual a few people are responsible for tarnishing the
reputation of a country.
Nowshade Kabir, Ph.D., is the founder, primary developer and present CEO, of
Rusbiz.com, a global business to business e-commerce portal with feature
like storefronts, aggregated catalog, e-marketplace, trade leads, internal
messaging system supply chain solutions, etc. With a doctorate in
Information Technology, Dr. Kabir has worked an advisor to government
projects and has over 12 years experience in International Trade. An author
of many B2B and business related articles; he publishes a bi-weekly E-zine
for online business community. You can subscribe to his newsletter free of
charge from http://www.rusbiz.com.