I have received numerous postings, and one fax, from someone in Nigeria who allegledly has 21 million he needs to get out of the country. All I have to do is send them an invoice, a blank check, etc. I have forwarded this to our Attorney General before. Any history or follow up ever done on this scheme before. It sounds like one of the alltime best urban myths.
Sending someone you don’t know a blank check is crazy. If this scam is legit it’s probably illegal.
Run away as fast as you can
It’s a scam. Our law office gets these (both directly and from clients who are asking for advice about the “opportunity”) about every other month.
My former employer (owner of a fairly large manufacturing company) showed me an almost identical letter about three years ago.
A man purporting to be a Nigerian government official needed a way to “safely store for the government” about 31 millions dollars in an overseas commercial bank account. The come-on was he’d get to keep 5 million of those dollars if he’d ante up all his company’s bank account information so the “Nigerian government could protect this budget surplus form the forces of corruption.” This guy would then make an electronic transfer into and out of the account, leaving 5 million for the trouble.
Yehright. The letter was HILARIOUS, filled with all sorts of stilted English and typos.
It sounded like a bad Japanese translation of Saddam Hussein doing an impersonation of Madeline Albright. Too funny. The official seal of the Nigerian government looked like it had been through every bad copier in Abuja.
All in all, the hoax had all the charm and earmarks of the guy in the back of the van who has “surplus inventory after the day’s deliveries” and offers to sell you a 27-inch color TV box half-full of bricks for $100.00.
The cachet of official corruption the country of Nigeria has emanated over the last 20 or so years lends itself well to this sort of scam. Greedy unscrupulous people have a tendency to want to share the profits from someone else’s (hinted at nudge-nudge-wink-wink)wrongdoing. I would not be surprised if a more than a few companies in the U.S. had their bank accounts looted by these boneheads.
Sorry to be trite, but you can’t cheat an honest man, man.
It is one of the alltime best scams. It has been going on for at seven years. The Wall Street Journal had an expose on it about five years ago. Usually the scam insinuates that the money is tainted/embezzled/dirty. That apparently sets the hook in the scammee, overcoming a natural cynicism against something for nothing. The scammee sets up a bank account in the scammer’s name with his/her own money for the scammer to transfer the dirty money into. Goody bye money. The people interviewed in the WSJ article all had the typical scammee reaction of feeling like fools. The scam is probably a lot more prevalent than reported because of a natural reluctance to advertise one’s scammability and the fact that the scam was for an illegal transaction in the first place. I wonder if it has been going on continually or if the scammers wait for the sheeps’ wool to grow back. Mixing my metaphors briskly, man is the only animal you can skin more than once
Uh, guys? The OP knows it’s a scam. That’s why he forwarded it to his state’s Attorney General.
The answer to you question is yes, there is history and followup. Unfortunately, it never seems to result in anything. The Nigerian Central Bank, under pressure from the US, periodically takes out newspaper ads warning against this kind of thing. The Nigerian government, unfortunately, is less than helpful in tracking the source and tends to blame the scam on the greediness of the people who fall for it (a position not without some merit, IMHO).
We actually cut back on some aid over the issue a few years ago (it apparently being more important than the systematic murder of dissidents).
People had hopes that Nigeria would see the light with their new government, but it’s not exactly a top priority for now.
Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine
I received the same letter about 5 years ago. Somehow, someone in Nigeria got a copy of my professional assocation’s membership directory. I know because my name and address were identical to the listing in the directory, including the misspelling of my company’s name. They must have been slowly working their way through the book, because I talked to people before and after me in the alphabet to monitor this situation. Neither the US Postmaster (who you should really send this info to) or the RCMP (if you’re Canadian) were able to do much, but at least they’re monitoring it.
You can read more about this or similar schemes at United States Secret Service: PUBLIC AWARENESS ADVISORY REGARDING “4-1-9” OR “ADVANCE FEE FRAUD” SCHEMES
La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry
I’ve received the same letter every few years. The really scarey bit was that I had a business trip scheduled to Nigeria, and I got a copy of that letter a week before I was supposed to leave. It scared the sh— um, scared the pants off me: I knew it was a scam, but I thought they had targetted me, knowing I was going over to Lagos.
Luckily, several other people in my firm got the same letter at the same time, so I just marked it down to coincidence.
One of the gimmicks is that it does seem like free money, and can’t cost anything. OK, I set up a bank account, but I only put MY NAME on it. They can deposit money into it, but they can’t take money out of it.
Except that once you have the bank account opened, they need to bribe some official, can you forward them $500? … and then some other obstacle, can you send them $1000? … and so forth. Sigh. Amazing how greed blinds some people…
From the treasury dept.
Two words: Holy crap!
I am in the wrong business.
“Glitch … BFG.” - Bob the Guardian
Report it to the FBI. No fooling. This is a very well know scam, which more than a couple times has proven fatal. You will be asked to fork over lots of money as bribes, and eventually be asked to visit Nigeria being reassured that a passport is not needed! Once there, in a very illegal, therfore very vulnerable posistion, bad things can happen, maybe even the “Big Sleep”
But rest assured, it is very serious, and quite dangerous, don’t even consider it!
Check this out: http://www.sec.gov/consumer/ssa.htm
Go there, read up, forget about the easy money. Sorry
I can solve any problem!
Just give me a rifle and a clocktower!
We got that letter every so often at the trade association. Always good for a giggle.
We get quite a few, probably as a result of being listed in several industry directories. That would also explain why the ones we get purport to be from the Nigerian National Oil Company or some such.
I’ve wondered who could possibly fall for it, but apparently people do.
Don’t forward them to you AG or the FBI; the Secret Service is the agency tracking this - send’em on to them. They’re building a database. You can read a lot more about this scam at the 419 Coalition website, where, amongst other things, they note that fully one-quarter of the phone #s in Nigeria have been linked to the deal.
If anyone wants to send a blank check to me, I’ll be glad to cash it.
This is NOT A SCAM! No LIE! I WILL cash your check!
Just don’t make it out to Satan, thanks… The bank HATES that…
Considering that Nigeria is infamous as a base for all kinds of scams, apparently with the blessings of the government, I’d like to see the CIA go have a friendly chat with certain people over there and hint that they might wake up dead if this bullshit doesn’t stop.
poised with pen over “Pay to the order of” section of check
So who do we make it out to? Lucifer? Beelzebub? Mephisto?
Your Official Cat Goddess since 10/20/99.
Semper Ubi Sub Ubi
This huge scam is a very successful Nigerian industry. Organizations are targeted rather than individuals. A crooked Nigerian bank is in on it and, once they receive the organization’s particulars including bank information, they will attempt interbank transfers out of the sucker’s bank account. A Canadian investigative news program ran on this a few years ago. It was almost funny to see these seemingly intelligent Canadians who pumped fortunes into Nigeria for “bribes to officials” etc. in an attempt to access the supposed millions. “You can’t cheat an honest man.” The Canadian embassy in Nigeria had to send an armoured car to rescue some poor pathetic (top-selling) Canadian real estate agent who had actually gone to Nigeria to pursue this “business venture” and was being held against his will.