How the scam works . . .
scam starts when you are contacted, either by fax, mail or email, by
someone saying that they are a senior government official. They
claim that they are in possession of a large amount of over-budgeted
money, usually American dollars. The proposal entails the transfer
of the over-budgeted money into your bank account. The person
receiving the letter or fax is generally promised a sizable
percentage, between 20 and 35 percent, of the money transferred, as
a commission, for the use of the bank account.
If the intended victim is interested in the deal, they are requested
to forward a variety of paperwork which generally includes blank
company letterheads which are duly signed, blank invoices, telephone
and fax numbers, and especially bank account details. These being
required to effect the transfer of the money into the bank account.
The money is obtained from the victim in a number of ways, such as:
Asking the victim to deposit money into a specified bank account to
help cover expenses for completing the deal, which may include
paying bribes to other parties in Nigeria.
Once the original fee has been paid, "complications" may arise which
necessitate the payment of more fees.
Organizing a meeting in Nigeria and once the victim is in Nigeria,
his passport is confiscated and he is detained until sufficient
payment is received.
Using the bank details and official letterheads to transfer money
out of the victim's bank account and into an account under the
control of the criminals.
Once the money is lost, an "official" may contact the victim on the
pretext of helping the victim retrieve the lost money which, in
turn, also costs money
How to Protect Yourself
Look for these warning signs to know if the letter is a scam:
letter will stress the urgency of the matter.
- The confidential nature of the transaction is stressed.
- Claims are made that the other parties are employed in, or have
strong ties with the Nigerian Government or the Central Bank of
- There may be a need to travel to Nigeria or one of its neighboring
- Many forged official-looking documents.
- Blank letterheads, invoices and banking details are requested.
- Additional fees are continuously requested in order to further the
- You will be asked to send money in order to "help" them to release
the funds in question.
Resources for Victims and other sites on 419 scams:
If you are a victim of these scams, please contact:
The 419 Coalition Website
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