Nigerian Frauds
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419 Scams

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~ F A Q ~

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

Every week many people send us copies of scam letters with questions about what to do next. Our stock response is,"Run, don't walk, away from these scam artists". We have seen it all.

These 419 scam artists are experts at the manipulation required to play the confidence game at the highest level we have ever seen. They are expert, bold-faced liars. And some of them can produce the most believable government/shipping documents and banking certificates.

One thing that needs to get pounded into the head of every person reading this is:
E V E R Y   O N E   O F   T H E S E   S C A M S   I S   A   S C A M.   P E R I O D.

© 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. 

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.

Courtesy of The Freeman Institute




































































































































I have just received a certificate for 12m US$ couriered in my name to Saudi Arabia without my approval and knowledge. When I said I cannot go to Saudi to collect the parcel, he told me to direct the Diplomatic Courier Service to reship the same to where ever I want. Finally I noticed that I am being asked to pay 4250/- US$ to reship to Abu Dhabi.

Please contact me soon so that I can give you the copy of all thee certificates and persons involved.  Looking forward to hear from you. You can send the certificates, but we can almost visualize what your certificates look like even before we see them. The scam artists have a certain stamp that all of them seem to use. And there is a certain style that is quite familiar. See one certificate and you have pretty much seen them all...


Well thank God for your internet site, because I was just about to leave for Amsterdam to help the poor lady. He has even sent, the man who wrote the emails, his passport photo and HIS scanned hand print to verify who he is, AND legitimate photos of him and Mrs Mariam Abacha.

So what he is telling me, and what you are saying are too very different things, may I ask, how do you know it is a fraud? Yes the money seems to be decreasing, that may be because he has been able to get that out of the country, or in fact that have spent that proportion. You can read over this site and make up your own mind. Our research has indicated that every one of these letters is a scam. E-V-E-R-Y   L-E-T-T-E-R! Your letter is not an exception to this rule. Period.


THANK YOU!!!! Greed can cloud intellect, and it did in my case. I was almost stupid. Okay, I WAS stupid, but at least I chose to do some research before engaging too far into corruption, and I feel you have saved from my own greed. AGAIN, THANK YOU!  You're welcome!

You have published many 419 letters, and I can send you mine from "Mrs. Abacha" if you like, (just ask) but I see little point as mine were very similar to others. We have probably every variation of the use of the Abacha name that is out there. See some of them at: 

I am not out substantial money. Today I purchased a separate cell phone contract, with a number that I gave only to the scam artists. I have another cell phone through my employer, so this was a waste. But that's it. You were spared some big heartache! By the way, most cell phone contracts allow for a short period where you retain the right to cancel the contract.

My question now is: They know my full name, my home address, home phone, and real email address. Nothing else. What precautions should I take as I get them to leave me alone? I will cancel the cell phone at least, but prefer to keep my home phone number and current email address.

A couple thoughts on what I might do... 1) Don't let on that I know of their scam, but tell them I have researched Sani Abacha's regime, and although I wish them (her) luck in their (her) pursuit, I desire to have no further dealings. 2) Tell them I have inherited millions from my grandmother, and so I have no further interest??

Your thoughts or suggestions on how to handle this would be very much appreciated. I am not pleased with myself for disclosing to them what I have, and I'm a bit worried. Respectfully I ask that you keep my name in confidence. (Hmmm... That phrase sounds VERY familiar!) Plain and simple, all you have to do is to cease all interaction with the scam artist. Resist the temptation to send a "creative" reason why you are stopping all further correspondence. Remember that these guys send out an average of 2000 emails a day, so you are just another number this guy is trying to work to his advantage. Regarding the information already given, I wouldn't worry about it. If you had given your bank account information, perhaps this would warrant an account change, but nothing more. As long as you are trading emails with him, he has hope that you are still gullible. Just stop responding to his confidence game and it will go away. He might try to contact you every once in a while under another assumed name. You are now probably on a standard list and will also begin to receive more from other scam artists. You'll discover that the delete button on your computer keyboard works real well.

In case you're interested in the psychology, here's what got me:

I'm a computer programmer. High IQ, educated, mid thirties. I know how the internet works, I've seen scams and I know how to avoid viruses and spam lists. I haven't been on spam lists for YEARS, because I know how to avoid them. So these were the first I had heard from Africa.

Well, by coincidence I started a website for a small company, and was receiving copies of their mail (in maintaining their domain and e-commerce).

The company for whom I did the website does do international business, and indeed they are very respected. So it was believable to me that they would be found on a list of "trustworthy entities". (Indeed, they are, and they get business that way often.) It was a mail sent to THEM that I replied to.
(Removing references to them, knowing it had been mass mailed.)

My thought was that there was recent political turmoil and corruption in Africa. (Which is true of course, and which I verified.) THIS (I thought) was the reason I was getting the barrage of messages. In reading many of them, the "Mrs. Abacha" letter had given legitimate website addresses, "verifying" her story. They sent a photo of the crates of money. (You've probably seen it... interestingly in hindsight, no bills are face down in the picture.)

I even read extensively about the Sunni Abacha regime, learning quite a bit. In all previous experience I had had, scams were always get-in-get-out deals. So unlike any scam I had seen before, these people were willing to spend money to call me. They were willing to continue a dialogue.
Your hunch about using the Internet as his Long Distance carrier is probably closer to the truth. Usually they get a cell phone and, depending upon how good they feel about extracting money from you, they will invest a certain number of pre-paid minutes to establish voice contact. This is an incredibly important foundation to be laid in order for the confidence game to be successful.

They did NOT ask for upfront money, bank accounts numbers, or for me to travel outside the U.S. (I was to pick it up in New York.)
(It can be guaranteed that this scenario would have changed as the deal unfolded. "Extenuating circumstances" would have dictated that you need to help out monetarily and the box of money would have moved to Toronto, London, Amsterdam or Spain, etc.)

I had been looking for clues of problems, but without revealing a SS#, bank account, or spending any upfront money, I felt safe.
At least this was smart of you.

Feel free to post any portion of this on your website except my last name. I'm no dummy, but in this case I was an idiot, seduced to forget my ethics by greed. 

I figure a substantial portion of my paycheck is for being trustworthy. And yet, am I? (Thus far, I have been trustworthy in every way, and will continue to be.)

So my thanks to you may extend further than you know. You see, although I am not religious, this experience has put me in a position of asking myself: Would I prefer to die rich and corrupt, or die having lived comfortably with my ethics intact? I know the answer clearly now.

I suppose the scam artists would have forced me to confront the same question eventually, but surely this lesson was easier to learn from the information you provided. We thoroughly understand the awakening you have undergone through this experience. Very similar to what we and others have wrestled with in the beginning stages of investigating these scams. In fact we think that anyone worth his or her salt should confront this kind of internal stuff, just to help to determine personal values. This is a healthy exercise for all of us. The outcome for you could've been really ugly if you hadn't bumped into this site or another web site warning of the same thing. You would hardly believe some of the horror stories we hear. Duped retirees losing all their retirement money, etc. Very sad!


I have given him one of my bank information but the account does not have much money. Is there anyway that I can trace the person ? Nope. Wouldn't bother. And if there was a way, it wouldn't be worth your time. 

The following is a letter we received from a Nigerian expatriate living in UK who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions from her own countrymen.

I visited your site and I commend you for the information it contained. I stumbled on it while browsing other sites on Nigeria. The reason I am sending this email is that I am a Nigerian living in Britain but I have myself received several of these 419 letters. This will show you that they send them out blindly, because they wouldn't target a Nigerian who probably knows all about it.

Putting my awareness of this scam aside, I don't think I would ever have been tempted to engage with those people. When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is! At the height of the 419 scandals in the UK, I remember one Scotland Yard detective say that, he does not have any sympathy for the victims as they were probably greedy people. How can you expect to reap where you did not sow? Majority of Nigerians are honest people but a small percentage of crooks have tarnished the image of everybody.


I just recently received the following letter which sounded totally bogus to me. After having looked around on the net for info about this sort of thing, I ran across your page, which was pretty helpful. It sounds as if this sort of thing is pretty common, eh? Well, I figured I'd forward a copy of this letter to you. It looks to me as if it fits in perfectly in the category of a 419 scam letter. Take a look over it and see if you don't agree. ;)

I don't have a clue how they got a hold of this old e-mail address of mine. It's a good thing I don't use it anymore! I only got this because I still get mail forwarded from my old account. Is there anyone else I might want to notify about this? Thanks in advance! Feel free to link to the page you came across, because the best way we can fight these scams is to get the information out to as many people as possible.


I am glad to see that you are trying to make the public aware of this scam. I'm glad that I could help
in some way. I found another link on ur page and was shocked to find out that this scam has reaped over 6 billion dollars in ten years.  I am going to place a link to your "419 Scam Central" site on our web site. Continue your good efforts. Thanks for the kind remarks...


I RECEIVED A LETTER OF DRS. MARIAM ABACHA. IT IS A DIFFERENT STORY.. PLEASE TELL ME WHAT CAN I DO WITH THIS EMAIL? IS THIS A JOKE ?? IS THIS A FRAUD ? This is not a joke. It is a very serious occupation for many West Africans. The go to work, just like you go to work. Except their work environment is at a pay-by-the-hour Internet Cafe. The work ethic of a 419er is incredible, with many sending out as many as 2000 fraudulent email on a daily basis!


I live in Germany and from my other email account at, I have received this scam letter from a person named Wilfried Tukur in Congo... Is this real? If not, I hope that you can publish this scam letter and warn others. Nope, it's not real.


Thank you very much for posting other 419 scams here. Is a good source for us potential suckers to get information about this. I did a search on the names they used and funny enough one of them showed up in one of the other scam letters. No I didn't get sucked in! I am including some of the letters they used on me. Thanks again and keep up the good work! Thanks for the encouragement.


I am from Belgium. I was searching for "Mr. Robert Green", and "Bank Manager of Delta Trust Bank of Nigeria".....I found You......Is this a new scam-wave? In the past 20 years this type of scam has exploded. The Internet has sharply reduced the scam artist's cost of doing business and has given them access to many more potential dupes.


I received the letter below and was about to reply when I decided to check the internet for any information. I very much realize that one cannot believe everything they read in today's society. I did not reply to this and am thankful for your site. You were smart not to reply. You have better things to do with your time, like making money instead of giving it away to a bottom-feeding scam artist selling a phony investment..


Dear Sirs,
I have attached some scam letters I received from "Deacon Steve Adams." I am so glad that a friend of mine knew how to check it out. He sent me your letters from Deacon Steve Ade, Pastor Patrick Udo, Bro. Idris Yusuf, Deacon Adamu Solomon Bello, Mr. Emmanuel Amaka, Mrs. Christiana Alamin, Pastor John Igho, and Deacon/Brother Mike Ojesu. As you can see, mine are a combination of Brother Mike's and Brother Amaka's letters, certainly leading one to believe they are one and the
same. Thank you for helping to expose these scam artists. You're welcome...


I received the following letter this morning, but thanks to finding a virtually identical letter on your website, I am duly warned not to get further involved. Many thanks for exposing this scam. Ditto.


I made the mistake of replying to them , and I gave my home # & cell & business number and my address , what do I do??? I mean its pretty obvious what they are up to now that by luck I found your web page. Thank God, I was ready to fly to Africa . I look forward to your reply . We are glad that our web page was here for you. This kind of thing puts smiles on our faces. This is why we do what we do. Regarding your situation.  Learn from your response to this scam and never repeat it in any other area of your life. Stop all further correspondence with the scam artists. It's just that simple! Thankfully you didn't give them your banking information.


Having been approached by this obviously fraudulent scam web site, would you be interested in the e-mail correspondence I have received over the past week or so. Please respond asap as I feel the urge to send them a somewhat unpleasant response to their last message. They seem to think that I am still interested in their pathetic attempt to defraud people and I have no hesitation in leading them along if necessary. What you are planning to do can be fun, but always be aware what you're doing. These scam artists are some of the most convincing people on the planet!


I have been contacted several times with emails similar to these, and would just like to pass this along, JUST IN CASE!!! I have seen similar websites about this issue, and am trying to keep everyone informed. The last few I have received were Nigerian countries, now Congo. And that is just the tip.


To whom it might concern, this is newest of the e-mails I have got within the past 6 months. Could someone explain me the meaning of this and where do they get information about me? And what should I do ??? thank you... They have a network of people "farming" the Internet for potential scam targets. Like in sales, it's a number's game. If they get a 1% response or less, they are doing well.


I'm just including a copy of a variant of the Nigerian 419 scam that I received today. Although I'm sure there is nothing that you can do about it, I just thought I would send it on to you for informational purposes. Thanks...


I found your stories of Mrs. Mariam Abacha on your website. I have been contacted many times, being asked for personal details etc. Could you advice me what to do with this? Thank you very much. Our advice is simple. Throw everything in the trash and get busy writing that novel you always wanted to write...


Thank you very much for the wonderful job you are doing in exposing this 419 scam criminals. In fact we genuine business men and women in Nigeria have really suffered a lot of losses from foreign companies and individuals who see every Nigerian businessman as a fraudster. If I tell you the personal losses I have suffered in the last three years as a result of distrust from foreigners, you will not believe it. Please continue with your good work to save millions of genuine businessmen and women in Nigeria. Thank you for your comments...

God Bless You,
xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx


Thank you very much for your web site. Don't you think that we should try and catch these culprits fast as they are still available on mobile and land line ? Any help please feel free. I am getting a dozen mails everyday for these kinds of negotiations. Perhaps we should reveal all this. We are doing what we can to reveal this. Feel free to publicize this web site -- We have analyzed all of the best methods for stopping these 419 scams. Scam artists use the Internet. Exposing these scams through the Internet is the best method to fight these scams. Everything else seems to be a dead end street. The legal systems of these countries are so bogged down and have bigger fish to fry. Plus, corruption is a way of life for so many in these countries.


Dear xxxxxxxxxx:

Thanks for responding and I sincerely hope that you post my comments and help alert some poor unsuspecting person so that they are not defrauded by these SCAM ARTISTS. It makes me ill to think that these scoundrels prey on people and especially some older folks who might just lose their life savings to such a scheme.

Thanks again for your web site and hopefully the authorities will catch up with these scoundrels and put them behind bars where they belong. The probability of these scam artists getting caught is almost nil. The local governments have "bigger fish to fry". Plus the governments believe that it takes two to make a fraud happen...a scam artist and a dupe. Some government officials think that if someone is stupid enough to send money to a scam artist who sends an email promising millions of dollars in return -- well, they deserve to lose any amount of money sent.


Hello xxxxxxxxx,

I live in Nigeria. I was touched after reading stories of various victims from your website. I also saw other links which really gave insights of what my brothers and sisters are doing to foreigners.

In the first place, these fraudsters are not ghost, they are not invisible, they are real, they are human beings like you and me. Secondly the telephone/fax numbers they are using are not fake, they are real, an operator is paid for those services.

Now I would want us to go a little bit farther, most of these guys are located here and since yesterday I have made serious enquiries pretending to be one of them by speaking the kind of language they 
understand. I discovered that some of them are barely literate and if the security dept. and the telephone operators here can assist, we can easily apprehend some of these guys. 

For me now, I have sworn to do everything humanly possible to fight this fraud. Can we do it? Can these victims cooperate with us by providing useful information?. For me I am ready and I can make 
presentation to the government and the telephone operators. I would want you to involve other nationals also to contact foreign embassies here in Nigeria for necessary assistance.

From my investigations so far, the guys will be apprehended even with their fake identities after all they are Nigerians and living in Nigeria too, in fact they own the best cars and houses here. Thank you for your insights. Our hope is that many will listen to your words of caution...


Every 419er do not believe it is over until you stop communicating with him. They believe they are more intelligent than any other person as a result they believe in as much as you are still communicating with them you may fall in at a moment. Also they do not have time to read, remember they work very late searching for addresses in the net, sending new mails, replying to the old ones. Do not under rate them. They work harder than me and you. Most 419ers send an average of 2000 emails and faxes daily, and use their spare time on women, drinking and other social activities. At least we can say that it sounds like scam artists have an excellent work ethic!


I am so glad I decided to check the websites for the Central Bank of Nigeria because I am being pursued by one of these SCAM artists. Thank you for the information you provided because I was really considering going ahead with this deal he wanted to make. It is a joy to receive such an email! One more potential victim who heeded the warnings of this web site! This is the kind of thing that makes what we do so gratifying.


This is one of many fraud emails I receive quite often. I am getting quite annoyed at the amount of letters I get from these people. Is there a way to stop all this rubbish? The first time I received a bogus email like this I traced the IP address to an internet cafe in France. I had the address of the internet cafe and the time and date the email was sent, I gave the information to the police but they were not interested. All the police had to do was forward the information to the French police, and let the French police go to the internet cafe and view the logs. But I guess that's too much hard work for the police to handle. But I think its about time someone did something, as people are falling for these scams and losing a lot of money. There are so many of these scam artists that it will always be difficult to deal with them. The Internet has made this fraudulent activity extremely easy and accessible to so many scam artists. I guess all we can do is to warn as many potential victims as possible.




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 unsolicited 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 warn 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.


© 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. 


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.


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


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