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Fraud Alert

You are here: Greater Things > News > Nigerian /419 Scam / Advance Fee Fraud

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Nigerian/419 Scam
Promises Huge $$ Sums,
But Intent is to Steal or Worse


A bogus reward offer of ~10% offered to facilitate a transfer of ~$25 million.  It is a scam.  They then get an "advance fee" which you never see again, and there is no $25 million. First-hand experience, documentation, Alphabetics code commentary.

Page Contents:
Briefly Preface: 419 & Advance Fee Scam Sample Solicitations Boycotting Africa 419 in Alphabetics Bible Code What (almost) happened to me -- an overview of the scam Fraud Documentation Other Websites That Expose This Scam Remedy: If you've been scammed

New: Related Scams

Romancing the Stone Scam - Fraud entails a brief courtship via Internet through a dating service, with prospects of of marriage, a request for a "small loan," then gone.  Also based out of Nigeria.
Daniel Ekechukwu Resurrection Hoax - Nigerian minister allegedly documented as having been dead for 42 hours and then revived miraculously. Account of his visit to hell designed to instill fear and control.
Non-Accountable Funds Discovered -- SCAM - Scam claims that non-traceable funds have been discovered in a bank account, and asks for help to transfer them out -- into your account.  DON'T DO IT!

click for enlarged photo

419 scam professionals

Boycotting Africa

Something for Africans to bear in mind.  By allowing this corruption in your midst, your overall credibility is tremendously diminished.  Some, like the following person, will not do business with any Africans, no matter what, because of the experience of a close friend of his.

Sent: Monday, June 16, 2003 7:00 AM
Subject: Re: Delete these scams - now

To think I thought I was #1 on their sucker list? I first lead them on, had them send me passport photos, then thanked them and told them there would be sent to our FBI.
I have a friend who actually went there and could not get out, it took 45 days and $15,000! Even when I receive a letter that seems honest, I let them know that I have nothing to do with Africans, something they need to thank their own people for.

Jan. 27, 2003

I have a friend, George, who lives 10 miles from here who loaned $50,000 to Fred and was just informed that Fred spent the money on the 'advance fee' requirement of this Nigerian scam.  The money had been loaned by George on Fred's false pretense that he needed it for family needs and could repay it almost immediately.  Now Fred is struggling to save his marriage and make good on the lost money, all for the greed of thinking he could get something for nothing.

(Names changed to protect the individual identities.)

"I got approached on this scam from Nigeria 15 years ago, and didn't bite, but I have a friend from Canada who put the $50,000 in and ended up going to Nigeria to get it back and nearly lost his life."

-- Lynford Theobald
(another friend of mine 10 miles away, Jan. 27, 2003)

If something look to good to be true - it probably is.

click here for Internet Fraud Complaint Center

Nigeria E-mail Suckers Exist (AP) April 11, 2002


bullet Overview/Introduction

Beware of Scam Promising Multi-Millions for Help with Foreign Business Exchange - A promise of millions for supposedly altruistic help in circumventing some unfortunate financial logjam.  They need it done fast, they need it done with the strictest confidentiality.

Lives have been lost, billions of dollars have been lost.

I personally know one individual who lost over $10,000 to these scamsters.

This site featured at
DMOZ - The Open Directory Project -- "Human's Do It Better"
> Fraud

See also:
Work-at-Home Scams -- Stuffing envelopes, assembling crafts, medical billing etc.
A listing of official documents exposing the work-at-home schemes that promise hundreds or thousands of dollars, no experience required.  Including warnings from the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, United States Postal Service (2/11/02) new

For info on other scams, see

Shut down scam runners.

When you get a message from them, forward it with the message headers to (replace "" with the domain of the offender).

Sample Abuse Report Letter

Below is another version of a well document scam that was sent to me.

This address [report the offender] must be shut down at once.

See documentation of scam at


<< Include full message with full header info>>



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bullet Preface: 419 & Advance Fee Scam

Click here for an e-mail introduction to what is more at issue here.  According to the 419 coalition, fraudulent withdrawal of funds from an account is rare.  More often, the aim of the scam is to receive an "advance fee" paid to the perpetrators, who take the money and run.

Here's a satirical introductory piece:
KIRBY: E-mail From Nigeria -- I'm Rich!


bullet Sample Solicitations

These are copies of email messages that I personally have received.

Help an Urgent International Business Transaction - 'Mahmud Daya' speaks of millions of dollars, with 'negotiable compensation' for facilitating exportation of goods.
Mutual Transaction - supposed widowed Ivorian mother wants help securing millions in inheritance funds for her son. (Nov. 14, 2001)
Soliciting Help to Secure Monies (Millions) Left over from Peacekeeping Operation -- Promise of huge payback. (Nov. 21, 2001.)
Ministry of Mining Resources in Johannesburg - need third party to help take care of an excess balance.
Trying to Recover from an Unscrupulous Moroccan - money accrued through deliberate over-invoicing of old project executed for the Government by some foreign firms.
"Sincerely in Need" FROM: MRS JOY SANKOH -- a variation of theme, appeals to altruism and greed at the same time. (Nov. 8, 2001)
"Business Proposal" - A supposed Dr. Frank Eboh of Lagos Nigeria promises 20% of US$21,500,000.00 to help in a transaction. (Dec. 10, 2001)
One Solicitation Every Five Days - compare the common tactics with small variations on the theme.
11 solicitations in 50 days from Dec. 12 through Jan. 30, 2002
20 solicitations in 48 days from Jan. 31 through Mar. 19.
(Now, as of April, 2004, in the past year I've been getting about 5 a day.)

Follow-up Solicitations

Presently Tied up in a Refugee Camp; Come to Senegal and We'll Make Arrangements


bullet 419 in Alphabetics Bible Code

Click here for a brief introduction to the Alphabetics Bible Code if you are unfamiliar with that term.

Word number 419 (James Strong numbering) in the New Testament Lexicon means

419 anexereunetos Not capable of being searched out, inscrutable.
Syn. anexichniastos, impossible to trace out, unsearchable.
Ant. phaneros, apparent.

That matches the idea of how these scam artists hit with no way of tracking them down -- thanks to the cooperation of the Nigerian government.

On page 419 of Zodhiates New Testament lexicon is where the word "diabolos" or Devil is found.

Word 419 in the Old Testament is the proper name Eldad, which means "whom God loves."  A reminder to us that God loves the sinner, and so should we (while steering clear of their evil intentions).  "Love your enemy."

Sterling D. Allan
July 21, 2001


bullet What (Almost) Happened to Me

On Feb. 20, 2001, 'Mahmud Daya' contacted me by e-mail asking for my phone and fax numbers saying he was looking for an American contact for conducting importation of solar panels, farm equipment and computer goods, involving the transfer of  US$31,320,000.00. He said that there would be negotiable compensation for performing this service.

Because I am a distributor for Global Sun Ovens, I thought he had contacted me because of that.  I replied saying I was interested and that I would like more information.  I presumed that his follow-up correspondence would contain information about what country he was from and what business he was representing -- information omitted in his initial email address.

When no response came, I presumed they had found another company with which to do business (presuming this to be a legitimate inquiry).  Why would someone with so much money contact little ol' me?  It was a little more like winning the lottery than conducting business compared to the volume I am accustomed to.  Nevertheless, I happen to be engaged in another venture, a legitimate one, involving the sale of sun ovens in Pakistan, so I presumed that perhaps heaven was just smiling on me, though I was doubtful that the claim would actually come through.  It was just 'too good to be true.'

But then after about a week I received a couple phone calls from 'Africa' by a person with a heavy accent regarding a pending fax.  I suggested he send the information by email, but (not wanting an e-paper trail) he insisted on using FAX, and did not want to use my efax service but wanted a direct line, which I gave him. 

Nothing arrived after the first call, but it did after the second.  My mother-in-law, whose fax machine I was using, said to me, "are you sitting down?"  She then said the fax had come and that they were offering 7.9 MILLION DOLLARS in compensation.  Mirroring my unspoken sentiments, she said she thought it looked fishy, but added that perhaps this could be one of those astonishing blessings that sometimes come along in life.  Of course there was a part of me that wanted to believe this, despite the common sense that said it was a fraud.

As my wife and I read it through and talked about it, neither of us suspected that we were the intended victims.  We only thought in terms of the strong likelihood that the money had not been obtained through legal or ethical means, in which case we would not want to have anything to do with it other than to help bring these guys down and return the purported money back to its rightful owners if possible.  Still, there was that small glimmer of hope that these guys were honest and that we could be helping them in a legitimate way.  The screaming contradiction to this, though, was that they were offering us 25% of the money, just for holding the money in our account on their behalf.  Why would they offer us such a large sum if they had obtained the money legitimately.  Prior to receipt of the fax, were prepared to ask for a 1% commission of $31,320, thinking that this was reasonable, supposing that most of the money would be involved in the transaction involving the purported goods.

Another major red flag in the fax was their repeatedly stating the need to keep this absolutely CONFIDENTIALHow do you keep 31 million dollars in your account 'confidential' in America?  The bank, the government, and the IRS would immediately know, and would want answers as to the origin of the money.  Furthermore, because the account we intended to use is a business account, I would be obliged to inform at least my partners as to the transaction.

The catch, which I didn't catch at first, was that they requested me to send my bank account information so they could make the wire transfers into my account.  In my ignorance of financial matters, I was unaware that such information would enable them to also WITHDRAW fund from my account.  Being the trusting person that I am, prior to receipt of the fax, I had actually composed an e-mail message volunteering that information for them in preparation for the transfer of funds INTO my account -- of course after I had had a chance to review their proposal.  (Fortunate for me, with the distractions of the eventful day, I did not get around to hitting 'send' on this e-mail message I had composed.)

Considering that there were too many questionable things about the arrangement, I called a local branch of the FBI.  I thought that if they were indeed legitimate that the FBI would walk away after confirming this, but if they were not, I could help bring the criminals to justice.

When I contacted the local FBI branch, the officer asked me if I had sent them my bank info.  Thinking I had sent that e-mail I began composing, I said 'yes.'  Being familiar with the tactic, he had me immediately get off the phone and call my bank to have them put a hold on my account.

In talking to the bank Vice President, I learned that a scam very similar to this had surfaced six years ago, and that the FDIC had issued a fraud alert to its member banks titled, "Americans Losing Lives in Nigerian Money Scam."  He also told me that there had been several victims from this area.  He also faxed to me a copy of one of the letters one of his customers had received.  It read nearly identical to the one I received.

Gratefully, my story has a happy ending in that I was not taken for a ride. Others who are obviously being targeted by this scam as well, will not be so fortunate.

Hopefully this page can help expose this scam, diminish the number of victims, and ultimately put the perpetrators behind bars.

Sterling D. Allan
March 6, 2001

Follow-up Phone Call from 'Mahmud'

After recording the above account of my experience with this so far, last night at two something in the morning, our phone rang.  It was 'Mahmud' placing a follow-up call to see if we had received the fax.  At first, I played along with him, expressing some of my reservations about the arrangement to see what he might say.  Because his accent is so heavy, I wasn't sure what he was saying other than that he had clever come-backs prepared.

I then informed him that upon receipt of his fax yesterday, before reading it myself, I sent a copy to my attorney friend who warned me of the high likelihood of this being a scam.  That did not deter 'Mahmud.'  He continued to talk as though we could work this out.  (He wanted me to send my account info.) 

I told him I found out that by giving out my account info, he would then have authorization to withdraw from my account as well as deposit to it, and that I had therefore placed a block on my account.  He had a comeback for that too, which I did not understand because of his accent.

I next told him that I had also contacted the FBI who further informed me that this was a scam.  Either he did not understand me, or he was unruffled, but he continued to talk to me as though he was prepared to go ahead with this.  (He wanted my account info.)  But he did shift to another tactic.  He said that if I didn't want to do this, he had already contacted some alternative sources who were willing to do this, and he would go with them instead.

I also shifted tactics.  I told them (also bluffing, but not completely, for I was hopefully speaking in a future if not present tense), that the FBI was tracking their calls and their transactions and that when they had enough evidence they were going to be moving in and taking them down and putting them in jail.  I repeated this several times.  I don't think 'Mahmud' got it the first or second time.  Either that or he was not scared because -- as the FBI agent told me -- it is very hard to convict a case like this in Nigeria because of the corruption in the government.

Finally, after I (bluffing) said that the FBI was monitoring this very call, he said he would not be dealing with me and he hung up.

Sterling D. Allan
March 7, 2001


bullet Fraud Documentation

How I nearly got sucked into this.

Initial e-mail solitication - 'Mahmud Daya' speaks of millions of dollars, with 'negotiable compensation' for facilitating exportation of goods. (see other sample solicitations above)
Fax to me from Nigeria -- $7.9 Million Offered - One-page proposal along with application form to submit sufficient bank account information for them to withdraw funds.
Autumn 1995 FDIC Fraud Alert <PDF> - "Americans Losing Lives in Nigerian Money Scam."  A related scandal.
1996 Nigerian Solicitation <PDF> - received by bank customer near me and reads nearly identical to the fax I received March 6, 2001.
Beware of one of the most dangerous scam artists - another near victim wishes for his story to be told.  He nearly lost $10,000.


bullet Websites That Expose This Scam

See listing for "Nigeria Scam" - We provide the relevant information you should be aware of regarding the several processes involved with spamming, especially Nigerian spam. Nigerian spam is the fraudulent way to pull out money from victims promising an immense fortune. We deal with the major problems concerned with Nigerian spamming and its impact.
Nigerian Scam Alert
The 419 Coalition - Background and information about scam sometimes known as the "Advance Fee Fraud", the "Fax Scam", "419" and other names which originated and operates out of Nigeria. - sample letters, description of scam procedure.
Contact your local FBI branch - purports to help track the scamsters once a person gets into a mix with them.  Caution: could be in cahoots.


bullet Remedy: If You've Been Scammed

DeLuca & DeLuca Law Offices, Inc. - "We help you put your life back together." Specializes in recovery from this specific scam.



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Page posted by SDA on March 6,7, 2001
Page last updated on January 02, 2012
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