Nigerian Frauds
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419 Scams

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Classic Responses to Unsolicited 419 Scams

© Copyright, 2003 The Freeman Institute. All rights reserved. Nothing on this page may be used without explicit written permission.
Note: Reproduction of any kind, including cutting and pasting, is strictly prohibited. 

Link to this site -- -- Link to this site

Check out the main page of Scam Central

Return To Glory: The Powerful Stirring of the Black Man

Forward a copy of a 419 letter to The Freeman Institute. We just might list it here in attempt to warn others. Tell us your story.

The following response letters were developed by an acquaintance after over two years of  investigation into the depths of deception behind the 419 scams which have victimized countless thousands of people around the world. Our acquaintance developed an understanding of how the "confidence game" works. People boldly lied and then changed their tune at the last second. It's called the good old "Bait and Switch".

It is always about the money. They will work you very hard on this account. If they can't get $20K, they'll try for $10K, $5000, $1500 and so on until all they mention that miraculously someone has come through with all the money except $200 for the payment of some document fee. This seems like a trivial amount when dealing with millions of dollars, but to a West African, who may make $25 a month, $200 pays his/her bills for 8 months. Everything is relative. Our acquaintance has had several deals broken over $200.

Plus remember, the scam artists work in teams. It may be a box of money or a wire transfer, sooner or later you will be shifted over to a man (Person Y) in London, Toronto, Atlanta, Dallas, Spain,  Amsterdam, Ghana or somewhere else. "Person Y" is very business-like and soon you will be asked for a particular document. You then go back to the person who originally contacted you (Person X) and he/she will then say that everything is out of his/her hands and that you just have to pay the fees for the particular document in question.

Then "Person X" will tell you that he had to sell his car or he had to get a second mortgage on his home to bring everything to this point. "Person X" will then heap guilt upon you, challenging you to do your part in this business transaction. This is done after they have shown you the amount of sacrifice they have made on their end. It is amazing how an entire million dollar deal will be broken over the lack of payment of $200.

Get something in your head. Even though they may send a picture of money in a box (see below), there is no money in a box for you. The same box is used for every victim. There is no money in an account waiting to be transferred to your account. It's all a game that preys on the blindness created by human greed. And they will go to all ends to win. Some of the big time players will even fly you to West Africa. Don't accept their offer, or you might be kidnapped for a ransom or end up dead.

If you receive scam letters from Nigeria or anywhere else in Africa,
Do Not Answer Them. Do not attempt to communicate with the criminals.
"Don't try this at home."

Forward a copy of a 419 letter to The Freeman Institute. Your letter just might be used to warn others.



Here is the initial actual unsolicited email with $18.5M business proposal from Hassan Adedeji

Dear sir,
Although this letter will come to you as a surprise from someone you do not know before but it was based on recommendation from a friend who advised me to invest in your country that I decided to contact you and introduce myself . My name is Hassan Adedeji, I was a special steward to the late head of state of Military Government in Nigeria, General Sanni Abacha who died some time in 1998 while in power. I have worked in Government house for the six years. It was a great opportunity for me to achieved what I got today which I believe God is asking me to write to you for your utmost assistance. I also believe that the same God will bind my words with you on trust. Amen.

To be explicit, I have secured the sum of US$18.5million dollars and sent it out of the country during the time of the sudden death of the late head of state General Sanni Abacha. The said amount was kept in the presidential guesthouse for security logistics because of how the Government was at war with the pro-democracy groups in the country since the late Head of state was planning to succeed himself as a civilian president.

At that point, there was power struggle in the country in which people in better and strategic positions made away with substantial amount of money which I was also lucky to secure what I declared to you with confidence that, you will not allow anybody to know or hear about it because it is highly confidential. Since the Government has been changed in Nigeria on the 29th of May 1999,to civilian rule, I had been stopped not to travel outside Nigeria, my international passport had been seized and my movement has also been restricted. This is the most important reason that I needed your assistance to quickly claim this money on my behalf at where I deposited outside the shore of Nigeria since my intention is to put this money for an investment in your country in non speculative business where my name will not be mentioned.

I have a percentage for you in this transaction when you give me your words indicating your interest. I will also disclose more information to you such as the particulars of where the said money is kept and the certificate of deposit which shall be sent to you as well as other relevant document.

I have inform the security company that I have a partner who will call to confirm the safety of the deposit. Please send a reply through the above e-mail box.

Yours truly.
Hassan Adedeji


© Copyright, 2003 The Freeman Institute. All rights reserved. Nothing on this page may be used without explicit written permission. Note: Reproduction of any kind, including cutting and pasting, is strictly prohibited. 
=== Our First Letter Sent After Receiving Hassan's Unsolicited Email (Business Proposal) ===

Dear Hassan:

Thank you for your email. I trust that my email response finds you well. Please let me be blunt -- Your proposal is just one of the many such unsolicited proposals I receive in my email box every week. Each proposal claims to have millions of dollars and is generally sent by a doctor, a prince or military personnel. I never realized that there could be so many people with so much money! Most of the amounts mentioned in these emails average to be between $20 and $50 million. With the many proposals coming into my mailbox almost daily, I must confess that I am 99.9% doubtful regarding the legitimacy of your offer. Are you different? I'll know very quickly. I will work with you on the following conditions:

(1) You must be prepared to finance the entire project or have sufficient financing in place.
(2) You must keep the entire transaction confidential
(3) You must provide sworn affidavit
(4) Tax clearance certificate (if necessary)
(5) Drug Clearance certificate (if necessary)
(6) Letter of administration
(7) Certificate of deposit
(8) Receipt for fund release order
(9) If your Government should pay from an offshore payment center, you must pay all related fees 
     and the cost of the local Attorney.
(10) If the funds are transferred from a local bank you must pay all related expenses.
(11) You most provide a written plan as it relates to transferring the funds and securities out of your 
(12) You must provide the name, address, and telephone number of the local bank.
(13) You must state the balance due the bank (or demurrage required at security company) if any.
(14) I will give NO upfront money. Nor will I ever give any funds to you for ANY fees associated 
     with this business proposal.
(15) I will NOT travel anywhere to meet you. You must initiate all travel, at my convenience, meeting 
     in public settings (e.g. Mall or Restaurant.).
(16) You must initiate all phone calls. We will communicate by email/fax or through phone calls 
     initiated by you. I will not return calls. If you prove yourself to be real, I will reconsider this point.
(17) What kind of funding do you already have in place to pay for all the processing fees and 
     associated gratuities?

In my experience (depending upon the transaction), it generally takes approximately $200,000 to pay for all the processing fees and gratuities. If you do not have the funding in place to complete this project, let me know by return email so that neither of us has to waste our time. Plus I want you to respond to each of the previous 17 points with a definitive answer regarding your specific business proposal.

If this is a scam, do yourself and me a favor -- do not answer this email. If you are a scam artist you will be very uncomfortable with the previous 17 points, because you already know that I know your game plan. If you are real, you will be comforted knowing that I am well aware of what it takes to complete this transaction.

I do not waste time with people who make a living off deception. I am a man of integrity and a straight shooter, working only with people of like character. If you have your funding in place, tell me when you email me and I will remind you of your statements down the road if you ever engage in the bait and switch gambit. If all of your funding is in place, and you are who you say you are, it should easily take less than thirty days to complete the project.

Still interested? If so, contact me via email, letting me know how your proposal is different from all of the other similar proposals I read every week. I have read about these types of "419" proposals on various web sites and in some magazine articles and newspapers, which warn US citizens about getting involved. Some, they say, are scam artists, experts at the confidence game and masters at making authentic-looking bank and government documents. Are you one of these seasoned opportunists who take advantage of the blindness created by human greed? I do not know. But you know.

If you want to know the truth, everyone I have dealt with thus far over the past few years has ultimately been exposed as a scam artist. Only you know if you are real or fake. You have to demonstrate to me that you are legitimate, by making statements and then holding to your word regardless of the cost. The moment you switch from a previous statement I know that you are a fake. So make your statements carefully. You are not dealing with an amateur.

You and I have never met in person. The only thing we can look at is what is written. That is why I place such a high premium on what you write, even more than what you might communicate over the phone. By the way, I fully expect you to offer me the same courtesy. You can and must hold me to my word.

The burden of proof is -- and always will be -- upon you. Respond specifically to each of the above 17 points. I am sure that you agree -- anything worth talking about is first worth putting down in writing. Be careful with what you say, because I will hold you to your words. And that's a promise!

Thank you for your time,

========== Hassan's response to our first email ==========

Dear xxxxxxxxxxxxxx,

Many thanks for your reply. I have carefully gone through your mail and noted all the points. First of all, the money I mentioned to you is not in the bank if you follow my first letter I sent to you.  I made the deposit of the two boxes containing this funds in a security company outside the shore of my country.

I also made a substantial payment for the deposit since I do not want the company to opened the boxes. I declared them to be containing family treasures.

It was when I came back from where I made this deposit, I was arrested and put under house arrest by the new government who freezes all my both foreign and my local bank accounts. Honestly, if I was not wise to make this deposit in the company, I would have left with nothing. As a matter of fact, no body is aware of this deposit because I must try to keep the information very tight within me. I have the followings as a proved of the deposit:
a} Certificate of deposit
b) Deposit agreement with the company

The above are what I was given by the company when I made the deposit.

I am still under house arrest now otherwise I wouldn't need no assistance from anyone. I disclosed this information to you because I believe you will not disappoint me . The transaction is risk free since the deposit was made by me .

I have a percentages to offer you if you prepare to assist me.

What I need is someone who will go to this company and claim the boxes on my behalf, then move the funds to a bank for further instructions on your own name.



© Copyright, 2003 The Freeman Institute. All rights reserved. Nothing on this page may be used without explicit written permission. Note: Reproduction of any kind, including cutting and pasting, is strictly prohibited.
======== Our Second Letter Sent After Receiving Hassan's Email ========

Hello Hassan: 

Thank you for your email response. I am glad that you feel confident enough to state that "the transaction is risk free", but I still need a point by point response from you about each of the 17 point in the previous email, with absolutely full disclosure about every penny you expect from this end. If you and this business transaction are real, you'll have no problems laying all your cards out on the table. 

Within the past year, a friend of mine, by the name of Sam (identity has been changed for this forum) has been over in West Africa and has worked with some other folks -- each one claiming to have money in a box or in an account. After expending much time, money and energy, each situation has proven to be a bold scam. It was so disheartening to be lied to by people who were claiming to be friends. Let me tell you a story. 

This story will give you an example of what Sam has experienced. After conversing through email, fax and telephone, one person from West Africa told Sam that he had money in a box that he wanted Sam to invest that money America for him. Trust had built up over time. With all fees paid, all Sam had to do was to come over to Ghana to pick up the box. The identity of the storage company in Accra was the Global Security Company, which I am sure does not even exist. 

Sam was taken into a building that was in serious disrepair. A couple of men were there who then demanded more money before they could release the box. The man whom Sam trusted claimed that he was at the mercy of the security company and started to weep when Sam refused to pay the demurrage. It was obvious that the men at the security company and the man with the box of money were partners in the scam. It was a classic bait and switch gambit. Plus the acting was almost good enough for a Hollywood movie. Sam came back home and read over all the emails from the man who claimed to have the box of money. Sam was amazed at bold lies that were told him. He trusted the man and everything proved to be

As a professional counselor, I am very adept at sniffing out the dynamics of the confidence game. No fault to you, but I need to know that the money is real before making any more moves in your direction. And your specific responses to all 17 points is the first tiny step in that direction. 

I do not know you and you do not know me. The only thing we can focus upon at this time is what is communicated by email. Dealing with this kind of money, I am positive that you must make sure that you are working with a man of integrity, reliability and competence. Here is how we both can determine the level of integrity the other one has. I will hold your feet to the fire with every statement you make and I expect you to do the same with me. If either of us deviates from the set course it is a clear indicator of a scam on either side. Because of past experience, the moment you ask for money is the moment I know that this is a scam. 

It's nothing personal, but I have dealt with too many similar-sounding frauds. Bottom line -- if you expect one penny from me in advance, or if you need me to travel, your best bet is to find another person to complete this transaction. 

Thank you, 

========== Hassan's response to my second email ===========

Dear xxxxxxxxxxxxx,
I really know that you are boiled because of bad experience you have with some peoples. But I tell you want thing that in every bad experience there must be a better experience too. I am a man of honesty. I also have a name to protect in my environment. I belief that we shall meet as long as we are pursuing the right course.

The company as I know have a special delivery system to deliver the boxes to you in USA, but I have no money to pay for the delivery. I know that I have paid for the cost of keeping the consignments with them.

The company as they earlier told me if I need someone to represent me, I must have an accredited attorney who will make power of attorney for the change of title so that the boxes could be received once someone come for the claims since I had earlier told them that someone will represent me. These are the anchor point because I have no physical cash at hand because of the closure of my bank account.

I thought you will make the trip to the company in Accra Ghana to get this funds which I know will not require any payment since I have already paid for the services except the lawyer's charges which you can deduct from the main some after taking the delivery.

Please let me know your suggestion so that we can proceed.

========== Our third response to Hassan ==========

Hello Hassan:

It is probably best that you continue to search for someone else. It seems like you are dancing around, refusing to address the 17 points I have mentioned in my previous emails.

I am not trying to cast a bad light on you, but as I stated earlier -- I will not travel anywhere and I will not put up any cash for a lawyer or for shipping expenses. If your story is true, I will work with you. But you will have to find the funds on your end to make things happen. You will have trouble finding anyone with greater integrity on this end to take care of your interests.


========== We never heard from Hassan again ==========
It's all because we kept asking for his specific response to the 17 points

Here is another spin to these 419 scams. "Morin" is looking for a
long-term relationship, along with the promise of wealth. Imagine what happens
when a sucker discovers that "Morin" really is a man.
90% of all 419 scams are perpetrated by men, some posing as women!

HI Dear,


Permit me to inform you that after reading your ad in the net. I became interested in disclosing every thing about myself to you. I am Single interested in long term relationship.

I am the Daughter of late Dr WILLIAMS ORIEGO, the former chief accountant to the Sierra-Leone gold co0peration in kenama , who was assassinated by the RUF rebels during his visit to our village on April 6 2000. 

Unfortunately my mother died for hypertension three week later here in Abidjan and before then my mother has already advised me and my younger Brother James to look for a foreign partner to transfer this fund and invest it abroad. 

I inherited a total sum of $18.5 million us dollars, from my late beloved father as the next of kin to my family. This money which is concealed in a metallic trunk box was deposited with a security company here in Abidjan under a special arrangements as deposited on behalf of a foreign partner containing African Arts for export. 

Now that we are in Abidjan and verified the deposit, we need your assistance to help us move this funds out for investment in your country as we can not invest here due to its nearness to our country and the war still going on there .we ask you to scout for a valuable and lucrative business , so that we can invest wisely. 

We have in mind to give you 10% of the total sum of US $18.5 million , and 5 % for any expenses which you will make in course of this transaction, fax messages, phone calls air tickets etc. By this mail you are now requested to arrange on how we can move the fund quick to your account in your country for investment. Awaiting for your urgent response. 





Not much. We don't want to sound fatalistic, but the reality is that the scam artists hide behind untraceable email addresses, sending their scam letters from pay-by-the-hour Internet Cafes. The governments of Africa are generally in a survival mode, with little interest in dealing with some Internet scam artist in a local village. There are always bigger fish to fry. 

Plus we have actually talked with West African government and business officials about their perception of these 419 scams. They have expressed amazement that anyone could be fooled by the  empty promises contained in emails from a stranger in Africa. In their eyes, the culpability goes both ways. "Who could be such a fool to give money to someone they have never met?" This is a valid question for all of us to ponder...

What we have done at The Freeman Institute is to provide a free service to individuals who may be flirting with the idea of great wealth coming their way. Our motto is: Run, don't walk, away from these scams and then do what you can to warn people about this pervasive problem. Feel free to provide a link to -- so that more people can see the truth about these 419 scams.



You may have received an example of the "Nigerian Fraud/419 scam" which is a common e-mail problem, especially in the US. Click on some of the sites below to get the bigger picture. -- A very, very funny site...

In the US, this matter should be also reported to the FBI Internet Fraud Complaint Center , and to the Secret Service. There is also a need (since the USPS also investigates e-mail complaints, to report it to the United States Postal Inspection Service . It should also be reported to the sender's ISP abuse department, normally expressed as abuse@ [insert ISP sig here].

If you lost money as a result of this scheme, don't be embarrassed, and please report it to the Secret Service -- which has set up a special 419 task force. Send your documentation to the United States Secret Service, Financial Crimes Division, 1800 G Street NW, Room 942, Washington, D.C. 20223 or call (202) 435-5850. Secret Service --  ( investigates currency issues such as forgery, credit card fraud, and other financial fraud) Financial Crimes Enforcement -- -- Money laundering and related activity, including offshore activity.

If you have received a letter, but not lost any money, send a fax of the letter to the Secret Service at (202) 435-5031.

Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigative Division --

Securities & Exchange Commission -- -- Investigates securities fraud and related issues.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) -- -- Jurisdiction over most consumer-oriented scams.

Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) --  -- Agency of the U.S. Department of Justice 

To understand a 419 scheme in either French or Portuguese, see

For hard numbers, the Australian Institute of Criminology article and the US Dept. of State pub. 10465 will prepare you better than this site will. Really good backgrounders. From these you will get an idea of the scope of this scam. There are already inter-governmental relationships established over this issue.


© Copyright, 2003 The Freeman Institute. All rights reserved. Nothing on this page may be used without explicit written permission.
Note: Reproduction of any kind, including cutting and pasting, is strictly prohibited. 


Forward a copy of a 419 letter to The Freeman Institute. We just might list it here in attempt to warn others. Tell us your story.


"Dealing  With  People  Who  Drive  You  Crazy!"®
The Freeman Institute™ Box 305, Gambrills, Maryland 21054
TEL 410-729-7800


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