Sadly, people do get taken in by this scam. For example, according to the RCMP, Canadians have been suckered out of over $30 million over the past ten years.
And then there’s this interesting site, which alleges that the reason the scam’s been going on for so long is that it has the complicit support of the Nigerian government: Nigeria - The 419 Coalition Website. They give instructions on who to contact when you get an e-mail or letter, so you could check it out, Chef Troy.
Hey Cheffie, I’ve received many over the years (got one via email this past Monday) and have learned that the U. S. government entity that is tracking this is the Secret Service. They maintain a database of names and numbers associated with the scam and they are the party to whom you should forward the solicitation you’ve received.
Law enforcement doesn’t really care about these scams. Report it to whichever agency you choose. It won’t go far. This is actually what the whole 419 Coalition is all about. Businessman Charles Pascale (who is basically the 419 Coalition) was mad that no one would do anything about these scams: STATEMENT RE: THE NIGERIAN SCAM
I had the chance to hear an FBI agent discuss these scams once. I was surprised when he said that little is done about these complaints. His take on it was that the companies who accept the offers are willing to engage in fraud in order to receive the money. It’s not honestly run businesses that get taken. After his explanation, I had to agree that ignoring the complaints is as troublesome a course of action as Mr. Pascale believes it to be.
Well the Nigerians may be out to get you guys, but I’m sure the plea I got via e-mail from a poor Ivory Coast boy named Valentine is genuine. I mean, the poor kid’s mother has disappeared and his father died slowly from poisoning at the hands of enemies anxious to get their hands on a secret stash of cash, and if I don’t let the “boy of 20” have access to my bank account so he can transfer the money to me, his life will be threatened, too. (Of course, he’ll share the wealth.) Whyever would a complete stranger lie to me about accessing my bank account?
I must help him. It’s destiny. My young friend prayed over a number of e-mail address and chose mine, without even knowing my name.
I’m just wondering if there’s been a recent rash of these things in e-mail. Since June 28, I have received four: from Mrs. Chibuzo Nwetego of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Friday Okeke and Mr. Daniel Eze of Nigeria, and Mr. Edward Mambo of Zaire, all with different bizarre stories of persecution and woe plus 15+ million dollars stashed away. There must be many billions of dollars hidden in trunks and safe deposit boxes all over West Africa. I had never received one by e-mail before (although I got my first one by regular mail in the early 90s.)
Just for laughs, I replied to the last two saying I found their offer intriguing and asking for more information. No replies so far. Maybe they decided I wasn’t trustworthy.
…of a cockeyed scheme I read about years ago. There was this guy in NH, who had one of the world’s largest collections of used tires (sitting in his junkyard). A Nigerian con man convinced him that the tires could be sold in Nigeria, at a profit-just how this was supposed to work, I’ll never know!
At any rate, the guy went along with it, and contacted a shipping company, making plans to ship 5 million old discarded tires to Nigeria. I don’t know if he got scammed, but shortly thereafter his mountain of tires caught fire, and burned for weeks-think of the airpollution!
A company that I worked for also receved an official-looking letter from a Nigerian scammer-we had a good laugh over it, but some people do fall for these things.
The government may not take this seriously (I don’t know if they do or don’t) but the scam CAN turn more serious than just greedy people losing money. Some of these people have been encouraged to go over to pick up their dirty profits and never made it back home. This I get from a State Department publication called: Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud, 1977.
Folkie (who invests all his money in wishing wells)
I don’t think it’s a case of not caring; it’s a case of not being able to do much about it.
If the scammers are in Nigeria, which seems to be the case, then the only way that Western gov’ts can do anything is via the Nigerian government. If the Nigerian gov’t is winking at it, what do you expect Western law enforcement officers to do?
I know that whenever the scam is active in my area, the Mounties are quick to issue public advisories, to alert people to the scam. Not everyone pays attention - there was a report last summer of a fellow who committed suicide; turned out he’d been taken in by the scam and had transferred a large sum of his employer’s money to the scammers.
I got an e-mail from one DR. PATRICK UDO ODION, replete with lots of CAPS and misspellings. Apprently, I " have been recommended by Nigeria chamber of commerce of [my] ability and reliability to transact business of great
magnitude of this kind." Wow! For giving him my bank information and company information, I get 20% of $30,000,000.00–$6 million! Boy, with that kind of money, I can buy the Brooklyn Bridge.
The technology may have moved on a little, but a similar scam was running by fax in the UK about 5 years ago, and largely focused on charities. The Charity Commission and the Metropolitan Police were both involved in the investigation, although I don’t know what came of it.
The rumour was that in order to release some fairly significant funds which had been left to Charity X in a will, all you had to do was provide your bank details and a tax of about 10% of the money to be drawn down. Like the emails described here, the faxes were OFTEN IN CAPITALS, and made reference to the dying wishes of the donor that the money be used to create hospitals/cure cancer/save kitties…depending on the mission of the targeted charity.