Great Nigerian, African Scams!


The scam starts with a bulk mailing or bulk faxing of a bunch of identical letters to businessmen, professionals, and other persons who tend to be of greater-than-average wealth.
Some indications of this scam are as follow:

  1. There is always an sense of urgency.
  2. Travel to Nigeria or some other loathsome country is requested of the dupe (although this is not necessary if the dupe is dumb enough to wire-transfer the money).
  3. There are many foreign-looking documents and often actual Nigerian, African officials involved, sometimes even actual Nigerian, African government buildings are used.
  4. Blank letterheads and account numbers are often requested from the dupe.
  5. There are a variety or processing fees or bribes which must be paid ("The President of the Bank will not release the money unless you pay him a bribe.")
  6. The transaction must be kept confidential ("Don't tell any US official or other such person.")
  7. A Nigerian residing in the US or the UK acts as an "intermediary" or "clearing house" to close the transaction.
  8. Often, someone claims to be of Nigerian royalty or fame, most lately "the son of the President of Nigeria".


In many cases, this is really a scam-within-a-scam: The Nigerians or Africans are making you think that you are going to scam the Nigerian or any African Government, the Central Bank of Nigeria, etc., when in fact they are going to scam you out of what they are going to charge you to get in the scam, or what portion of the scam you are going to pay to make it work.

If in response to one of these letters, you are simply so dumb that you wire-transfer or mail money to the Nigerians or Africans, then you are probably just lucky to have been this. Since people who have traveled overseas to investigate or consummate this scam have made a tragic mistake. For instance, the US Secret Service reports that in June of 1995 an American who was pursuing one of these scams was found murdered in Lagos and that numerous other persons have been reported missing.

The Nigerian and African scams are so popular that there are now various private and public groups which regularly fight the scam. In sum, be aware! Nigerian & African Scam! Promise “easy” Funds but their real interests are to Rob! Before you become a victim of these criminals get more information about and don’t go any forward with them!

Probably the two best websites regarding the Nigerian and African scam are:

  • The U.S. Secret Service -- Has dedicated an investigation's page to fighting "advance fee fraud", most predominantly 419 fraud, and has stationed agents in Nigeria and in Africa to assist U.S. citizens who have fallen prey to the scam.
  • U.S. State Department -- Has published an extensive warning about this scam, identifying its major variants.

For more information about or any other, please contact U.S. State Department or U.S. Secret Service.

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Great Nigerian, African Scams!

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