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419 fraud

Nigerian Scam

It has been placed according to published reports as the fourth largest industry in Nigeria. A business where one wont need to sweat as much as a salesman trying to convince his client to buy a particular product citing the reasons why it is best. In this case, all a scammer need to use is his mind and come up with crafty ways of getting money easily.

The most targeted or who fall into scam are usually the vulnerable or lonely (Dating or romance scam) and the gullible victims.

For those unfamiliar with this type of scam, the basic idea which the scammers use is simple. The target or victim receives an usolicited letter, fax or email concerning an illegal proposal or a legitimate business proposal.

Normally, the letters, fax, or emails revolve round one of the following three basic schemes:-
1)My father/husband/uncle who was an adviser to president or government/ who was the president or general passed away and the new government has frozen his/her account and now is under arrest, poor or in a refugee camp in a foreign land. Luckily part of the money was hidden /saved somewhere and I need your help immediately to get it out of the country. They would cite many reasons as to why they need the money deposited in a foreign bank, which in this case would be that one of the to be the victim.
2)I work for central bank of Nigeria and a rich businessman had died and his assets are now lying dormant in a certain bank and would soon be snatched by the government. Could you help get this money out of the country by pretending to be the next of kin?
3)I am a high official with a Nigerian National Petroleum or ministry of petroleum. We have over billed the government or a foreign country and we do need your help now to get this money out of the country.

The trap is to lure the victim to believing the story or message is true with the invisible(fictional) dollars in their millions.

The underlying thing is that before the money is finally released and deposited in your bank account you will be required to pay some type of fees or charges, every now and then citing the payment is the last overcome a particular obstacle; which is not.

They might also present you with fake cheques and ask you to return a share potion. They would also request you to provide personal or business information such as your bank account number, copies of your identity card or passport, driving license, phone/fax number and credit card details.

The primary reason for requesting for the account number of the victim is not so they can plunder it but as a sign they have hooked another victim. It is also a simple case of identity theft. There are cases where victim is shocked to have found that his account has been cleared out especially those who provide credit card details are the most traumatized once they fall into this scam.

Some of the charges would include tax, levies, money transfer charges, payment to corrupt officials and legal fees.

The most used type of scam by Nigerians is the Will 419 Scam.

With the advancement in technology in terms of faster communications, the email becomes most used means by scammers.

Other scams are:- fake lottery 419, romance 419, employment 419 business opportunity 419, etc.


The scammer usually sends the same message to various email addresses which they have harvested from where they are mentioned on the website. Out of the many they have sent the message to, they wont miss one or two who would respond.

With this scam, the message is about an inheritance left to them by their father or closer relative who died either as a result of civil war, disease or other causes and the money was hidden /saved in a foreign account and he /she is in a refugee camp and can't be able to access the money. The reason being they don't have a bank statement or national identity card and such. Could you be kind enough to help him get the money out of the country it is in and into your bank account? He promises that you will receive about fifty percent of the share, since the money in question is a huge sum in its millions.

Of course, the gullible would be tempted to go on, sometimes thinking once the money is deposited in his account, he will disappear with it or so.

The only sign that such an email is a scam is that you will keep paying a series of fees and charges before the money is finally released and placed into your bank account. There will be delays which prevent the money from being sent and require a further payment to be made.

Exactly! Those who fall to these scams never see the millions promised to them.

An example of such a letter looks like this:

'With due respect and humbleness, I am writing you this letter to request my sincere heart for your assistance and hope that my request shall meet you in good condition.

My name is Andrew Davies. I am 21years old. My father died of AIDS virus last 3months ago. (may his gentle soul rest in peace) during his time in hospital. He briefed me in close confidence of his money, which is about: $14million that he left in a foreign country due to civil war. This money as he told me was made for the purchase of industrial plants before he fell ill unfortunately and was dead.

In the process of securing this money, I left my country and has now arrived here in Ivory coast as my father advised me before his untimely death to move his money to any country of my choice where it will be properly invested as it is not safe investing in our country due to civil war.

It is based on this advice that I am contacting you as I am just a student and do not have any knowledge of investing this whole money.

My alternative email is:”

One should note that the original scammer of the initial email isn't alone but has a ring of others who pretend to be doctors. lawyers, who in turn do their part of persuading you, showing official documents that will make you believe it is true.. You shouldn't be fooled by these documents that look official for they have been forged. Remember, they work on it as a living.

Most of 419 emails and letters originate from Nigeria, though they can derive from other countries in Africa especially West Africa like Togo and Senegal; in European Nations like UK and Netherlands. It doesn't matter where the messages are coming from , they are Nigerian in origin, i.e, they are sent by Nigerians wherever they are residing, whether in or outside Nigeria.

The most targeted victims are from the west, especially the Americans, where the government and other agencies dealing with scams receive hundreds of complains. The government of America, Nigerian embassies in different countries and Nigerian High Commission warn people not to engage in business with Nigerians or undertake business in Nigeria without first seeking advice from them. Then, they will be provided with information on how to safely conduct business in Nigeria.

There have been cases where victims who were ruled to Nigeria had worse things happen to them, some having been murdered.


The rule of thumb,the only way to escape from lure of this scam is just to ignore the message and delete it. If you receive such unsolicited email from someone you don't know seeking you to receive a huge sum of money or large fortune of someone you never heard of as as the next of kin and especially if that person resides overseas, do not believe it. It might be a scam.

Do not go ahead and contact that person especially giving out your personal, or business information such as bank account information. You should never pay any fees and never accept the cheque from a stranger neither return a portion of the cheque.

The sad thing is that if you are victimized by this scam or fraud, there is little you can do to get the money back. It is very hard to locate the scammers since many use the internet in Cyber Cafes.

You can file a complaint if you have lost money by contacting the Nigerian Economic and financial Crimes (EFCC) at their website, or with the Central Bank of Nigeria anti corruption unit; Their email is,

If you are tempted or not sure whether it is a genuine one or not, you should ask this question ;”why would a perfect stranger pick me a stranger too to share his/her fortune with. And why would I give my personal and business information to a total stranger, someone I do not know?”
Published: 2008-11-22
Author: Benny Njuguna

About the author or the publisher
I am a creative writing student, doing for now the non-fiction part before getting to the fiction part.

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