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Don’t Touch That Mail!

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Posted on Jan 25, 2007
Nigerian scam warnings
AP / Sunday Alamba

Nigerians surrounded by warning signs about sending fraudulent e-mail wait to use the Internet in an Internet cafe in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2005. Nigerian authorities say they’ve scored results in a crackdown on such crime in the last three years.

By Gbemisola Olujobi

(Page 3)

One of the easiest hoaxes to fall into is the employment scam. Someone advertises what looks like a lucrative job offer on the Internet. It may be at a Kuwaiti oil field, a South African gold mine or a Sierra-Leonean diamond mine. Yummy! You apply and pay a processing fee. You are selected for what looks like the opportunity of a lifetime. Soon you have to pay passport verification fees, visa fees and handling charges, etc. Some brazen ones will arrange for you to meet a “local representative.” You think this has got to be real and you start packing your bags. Then ... nothing.

Here’s another example of a scam that involves a purported business relationship:

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company has discovered oil, and as government employees, we want to acquire the land, but we need a front man to purchase it for us. We will then partner with you to drill the oil. A tourist from your country supplied your name to us as a person of integrity and sound business sense.

A warlord or thieving president may decide to mend his ways and ask you to assist him in his efforts to make restitution.

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I have decided to give to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I have done on earth. The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of ($25,000,000) that I have with a Finance/Security Company abroad. I will want you to help me collect this consignment and dispatch it to charity organizations. I have set aside 15% for you and 5% for any expenses you may incur.

 

An orphan may need your help to claim his inheritance.

I am Uwaoma Tarawally from Ivory Coast. I am an orphan. I lost my father a couple of months ago. He was a serving director of the Cocoa Exporting Board until his death. Before his death he had a foreign account here in Cte d’Ivoire up to the tune of $18m which he told the bank was for the importation of cocoa processing machine. I want you to do me a favor to receive this fund to a safe account in your country or any safer place as the beneficiary.

* * *

To manage the damage that 419 scams have wrought in Nigeria, that nation’s government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft, which will help the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to identify and prosecute cybercriminals. Under the agreement, Nigeria and Microsoft will collaborate on information sharing, training and capacity building to fight Internet crime originating from the country.

The agreement will give the commission access to Microsoft’s technical expertise; information for successful enforcement of the 419 laws; Microsoft-sponsored seminars; and training sessions specifically designed for Nigeria’s law enforcement officers and representatives. For example, Microsoft will provide knowledge on the so-called “botnet” technology that enables hackers to control tens of thousands of PCs and to use them to spread spam.  Microsoft expects to instruct Nigerian investigators in extracting useful information from PCs compromised by botnet attacks; in how to monitor computer networks to detect such attacks; and in how to identify the people behind them. Microsoft will also provide leads on spam originating from Nigeria, enabling the authorities there to pursue investigations more quickly and successfully.

The collaboration with Microsoft is already bearing fruit and shows promise in helping Nigeria to shed its “bad guy” toga. Microsoft provided information that Nigerian officials used to identify two Internet service providers associated with large amounts of spam originating from Nigeria. The EFCC launched investigations against the companies and made arrests. Prosecutions are now pending. Many Yahoo guys have also been apprehended and made to pay restitution to their victims in addition to being given prison sentences. Despite worldwide skepticism, Nigeria seems to mean business this time around.

If you have ever lost anything to the Nigerian scam (or if you know anyone who has), there is now a chance to get back some of what you have lost. File a comprehensive complaint with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The website is http://www.efccnigeria.org.

You may also file complaints with the Central Bank of Nigeria Anticorruption Unit at anticorruptionunit@cenbank.org. You should do this especially if the CBN was mentioned in the documents that were used to defraud you.

There is genuine help waiting for you. This time, there will be no legal fees, performance bond, transfer tax, documentation fees, handling charges, processing fees, burial expenses, engagement/betrothal expenses, bride price or terrorism clearance fees. You can take that from me. I am Nigerian, but clean. I cross my heart.


New and Improved Comments

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By sandra Woods, February 19, 2009 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These peolpe have no compassion for anyone! Mr Osas Henry of Lagos Nigeria.

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By nobody special, September 26, 2007 at 6:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yeah , I got taken in by a girl i met and had talked to for several months…. I have been unable to workfor 4 years and living off of a disability check for a year—when she offered this to me , I was to be a “business partner”  to recieve and send payments to her from people in the united states… Once I finally agreed , I was then told to send the money to another partner (actually in the united states)..... Needless to say , I did as I was told… The first money order I recieved was for $2000—i had the bank run a check on it and it showed to be good .. I thought to myself , this is wonderful, then about 3 weeks later , I recieved 4 more money orders - each for $2000 and was told to take my 10% and send the rest to the other partner as i did before .... Well , before I could get to the bank with these , my bank called me and told me the other money order had came back as a fraud….
  That really sucked , I had to pay the bank back or get put in jail myself aned since i am only living on a small disability check , this really hurt… When I reported this to the police , they took my infomation and told me there was nothing they could do in this matter…
  Seems that our police here in the united states really does not care about us getting scammed , but they will put us in jail if we are unable to pay back the money we got scammed for…... That really sucks—You would think that the american government would actually do something to help , but they do not care…..
  Presently , I still get e-mails from all kinds of people from nigeria & china claiming to be in need of a business partner ... All I do is just reply “What kind of fool do you take me for..”

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By Virginia, March 28, 2007 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’d like to know where I can report all these money scam e-mails that I’ve been receiving. Some of them are using the name Swiss Bank and even send you a certificate of payment with the name Swiss Bank on them.  We all know that it’s not for real.  I’ve tried to find an e-mail address for the Swiss Bank without any luck.  Thought they should know about it.  Before I use to get lots of these e-mails from Nigeria, but now it’s coming from Ethiopia, Togo and even the UK.

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By Serginho, February 2, 2007 at 11:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Never mind “The Five Rules for Doing Business in Nigeria”.  I’ve got one:  Don’t do business with anyone in Nigeria.

Maybe then the corrupt Nigerian government will get the message and do something abut these 419 scams.

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By Lou, January 31, 2007 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I get one of these Nigerian e-mails a week and have saved them in my “Nigerian Fraud File.” I have a funny collection. A friend told me this summer he got an e-mail from an ad he placed on Craig’s List looking for a tenant for his house. A “future tenant from England” with a Nigerian name sent a fake check and “official letter.”
One tip off is as mentioned above - the bad grammar and spelling.
I was never cheated - nor my friend - because we never wanted to get involved in greed or dishonesty.
There is nothing for nothing.

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By Obit Collom, January 31, 2007 at 10:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My name is Obit Collom, I am a Nigerian Army
Colonel working with the Nigerian Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission. Our annual budget
of US $5,250,000 allows us to pay informants that
help us catch and prosecute 419 scammers. We will
pay out US $5000, plus your expenses, if you help
us in this endeavour.
To apply, send your check for US $250 (a paltry
sum, intended only to certify that you are of
good character and a patriotic American)to us at:
“Help the Poor Colonel Out”
888 Yokohama Mama Avenue
Timbuctu, Georgia, USA

haha haaaaaa! gotcha!

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By Scott, January 31, 2007 at 9:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you want to see the morons that run these scams get scammed in return, see http://www.419eater.com

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By Maysun, January 31, 2007 at 6:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

LOL @ bugjackblue, George S Semsel, Talapus Pete!!

Uhm, by the way, how do we know fer sure this article isn’t a mOrE creative scam?

Maybe you’re not into the financial angle, but, if you’re trying for a psychological wrangle, we’ll be in big trouble.

Especially with that Christian Therapist not around anymore to help. wink

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By Chris, January 29, 2007 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m amazed that people are still falling for this.  Honestly, how dumb do you have to be to expect something that’s too good to be true? 

What greed does to some people.

Personally, I like responding to the ads—turning the money down, explaining why the “lost relative” wasn’t really lost, but had been chased out of town for a host of unsavory and unnatural acts.  I figure if these people are going to annoy me with their emails, I might as well have a little fun with them.

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By Just Desserts, January 29, 2007 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why should we feel sympathy for the losses of duped people working with corrupt officials trying to launder and steal money that really belongs to the people of West and Central Africa?  Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast, these are some of the poorest nations in the world.  Africa has suffered terribly from the dictators, coups and civil wars resulting from the actions of the American government and CIA.  I can’t feel much sympathy for Americans stupid and selfish enough to fall for these schemes.  Call it “reverse imperialism”.

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By bull, January 28, 2007 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PURE GREED !!!!!!
I AM SURE FROM ALL THE SAD TALES, NO ONE SUGGESTED THAT A GUN WAS ON HIS/HER HEAD. VICTIMS WERE ALL PARTICIPANTS

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By DennisD, January 28, 2007 at 8:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stupid is as stupid does.

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By LauraK, January 28, 2007 at 2:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I had puppies for sale last year that I advertised on Craigslist and in the SF Chronicle online classifieds. Although I sold all the puppies to legitimate buyers in the US through those ads, I got probably 10 different people emailing me from out of the country trying one of the same scams described in the article: A money order for more than twice what I was asking for my dogs, then wire the money to their “shipping company” who will pick up the dog and ship it to them, and totally clueless answers to questions about what sort of home the dog would be going to. (Also ignoring my statement that I do a purchase contract for all buyers, and with a neuter agreement for pups going to pet homes). The emails were identical in wording, and a couple of them even referred to different breeds of dogs rather than the red standard poodles I had.

I contacted the secret service number mentioned in the article, and they really were not interested. They also had no way to email them or to forward the emails so they could trace the origin from the header info (!). So I just deleted the emails, and compared notes with other poodle people I know, all of whom had been approached with the same scam. In one case in the East, the person came to her home and had to be escorted off the property by the local police after she had refused to sell him a puppy.

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By bugjackblue, January 27, 2007 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

He was a “Christian” psychotherapist?  I imagine he must have specified this when interviewed: “It’s important to make it clear that I’m not just a therapist.  I’m a Christian therapist.”  I don’t understand then—why didn’t Jesus warn him?  I guess we’re supposed to have greater sympathy for him because well after all, he’s not just your standard garden-variety greedy criminal?  No, he’s a Christian, so he’s forgiven for being a criminal.  A lot of folk in prison become Christians, you know.  That way you have to forgive them their crimes.  Like Jesus would.  Otherwise, well, there must be something wrong with you because after all you’re a good Christian, aren’t you?  So this guy had his excuse ready before he even engaged in the criminal behavior—good thinking, eh?  I wonder how someone so smart (and virtuous) got caught?  But hey, he’s a Christian, and a therapist too, I mean his job is helping people, right?  He’s really a good person, he goes out of his way help people.  Selflessly.  As a good Christian.  “A Christian therapist.”  So cut him some slack, judge, ok?  He’s a Christian.  He deserves forgiveness, not a jail sentence…

Although if you think about it, maybe this is a step in the right direction?  When the jails are filled with Christians they’ll be much nicer places than they are now.  And if they’re Christian “therapists,” well they’ll all be able to help each other.  To help each other be better Christians.  To be better “Christian” “therapists.”  You see, it’s all part of God’s plan…

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By Gonnuts, January 27, 2007 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Biggest scam ever still is 9/11.

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By lawlessone, January 27, 2007 at 11:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I could not help but notice how much Bush’s entire Iraq War scam is like the Nigerian con games, both as to the techniques and the public’s astonishing gullibility.  No wonder there seems to be no way to stop either one.

[more irreverence at resistence-is-possible.blogspot.com]

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By Talapus Pete, January 26, 2007 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve sent some of scammers the chance to invest in helping us Indians get the missing trust fund money, if they’ll just email Tonto Lone Feather at hotmail.com… Others I tell I’m writing a book about the Nigerian scams and ask if I have their permission to include their emails in it.

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By Michael, January 26, 2007 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hahaha! Now I know where my village idiots are. This baffles me. How about the scam about “duplicating money” for you, sort of “counterfeit” scam? I once took these guys on a wild goose chase. Responded to their e-mails using my designated junk e-mail address. They bought my stories, gave me their numbers and were getting pissed off for failing to follow instructions. It was a matter of “urgency” as they put it. At one point I said I had never dialed international and so they instructed me and told me the next day that they had waited. They asked me for my address. I gave them the White House’s and for some reason, they never questioned it!!! Then I told them I had no long distance on my line, they told me where to buy a calling card and that it would be refunded. I got bored/tired and started coping other junk e-mails to them. One of them told me God was going to punish me. So next time you want, cuss them out and you will see how offended they become and how fast they quote God. That’s if you have time. I do, sometimes….

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By George S Semsel, January 26, 2007 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I look at who was voted into office in this country, it’s not hard to believe these scams are successful.

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By FrikkenKids, January 26, 2007 at 9:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Somehow, I’m not able to feel any sympathy to somebody stupid enough to fall for these scams - especially when stories about them are so common.  I can’t help but think that people blinded by greed get what they deserve.

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By Sseb, January 26, 2007 at 8:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How can these people be so naive? If the funds were legitimate, and all they needed was someone with a bank account in the U.S., then they could contact the Nigerian Embassy in DC. Duh.

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By Laughing out loud!!!, January 26, 2007 at 7:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OMFG!! - Well, what can you do . . some people are just complete and utter retards!!!

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By Michael Spencer, January 26, 2007 at 5:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Greed.

The only reason people get involved in this is simple, unadulterated greed. Something for nothing. The big action.

There are some sad stories, to be sure, but in some sense they get what they deserve.

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By Herman Schmidt, January 26, 2007 at 5:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have received some of the scams from Nigeria. And have often read about them. What I am curious about is why Nigeria. What is it about Nigerians that make them so creative and energetic when it comes to scams? Why is the country so corrupt, and I don’t think that is unfair to say so. Certainly, it suggests that there is a great deal of talent which can be channeled to make Nigeria a far better place.

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By Mad As Hell, January 26, 2007 at 4:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If it sounds too good to be true it is. Strangers don’t offer you easy money unless they are scam artists.  Ever.  Your “ship” doesn’t come in.

I’ve had scads of all these scams come by me on eMail—the internet is The Street.  I also get lots of eMails saying “Your credit card is expired” and it’s for things like eBay, PayPal, or a national ISP.  But they are scams too.

Read them carefully…They will say “Your VISA card has expired…”  Well, that’s a good clue, ESPECIALLY if I use MasterCard for that service!

But all these “victims” all had larceny in their heart.  W.C. Fields used to say:
“You can’t cheat an honest man, but never give a sucker an even break, and don’t wisen up a chump.”

He even named two movies from this.

I have seen SO many “Nigerian Scams” that I’m amazed anyone can fall for them.  Lots of them come from other places now, not just Nigeria.

But you can’t cheat an honest man.

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By Ichthus, January 25, 2007 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

STAY FOCUSED ON THE ISSUES!

THE NORTH AMERICAN UNION IS QUICKLY TRANSFORMING INTO AN UNION OF THE AMERICAS.

WAR WITH IRAN IS LOOMING.

THE ELECTION IS TWO YEARS AWAY, STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!

WE SHOULD IGNORE ALL THESE POLITICIANS UNTIL THEY CONFRONT THE REAL ISSUE: DECEPTION.

REAL ID ACT COMING.

RFID AND SURVEILLANCE EVERYWHERE.

DEBT FORCING OUR COUNTRY INTO A HOSTILE POSITION.

SHOULD WE BE AFRAID OF OUR PRESIENT?
HOW CAN A PEOPLE BE AFRAID OF THE PERSON WHO IS SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT THEM. WE THE PEOPLE ARE THE BOSS OF THE GOVERNMENT!

WE THE PEOPLE CONTROL THE GOVERNMENT!
THERE IS NO REASON TO WAIT TWO YEARS FOR CHANGE. WHY NOT ACT NOW?


WHY NOT A TRUE DEMOCRACY? POWER TO THE PEOPLE.

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