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Dateline: Abuja; Nigeria Fights Email Scam 197

dosten writes " is reporting that the Nigerian government is tired of being known as the Spam/Scam capital of the world and setup a web site to combat the common email scam. The web site is almost as funny as the Spam Letters. There is even a place to report your victim "experiences" so they can be published. One of the "coming soon" features will be a lineup of bad guys so you can avoid them in case you end up in Nigeria to collect your loot."
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Dateline: Abuja; Nigeria Fights Email Scam

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  • Excelent! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by matth ( 22742 )
    Spam is bad enough, wouldn't want to run into the guys that actually send it out :)
    • by Kphrak ( 230261 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:08PM (#3236460) Homepage

      Spam is bad enough, wouldn't want to run into the guys that actually send it out :)

      Maybe the above person wouldn't, but I would. Especially if I had a staplegun full of sharp, rusty staples. ;)

      • True.. didn't think of this =) Instead of using the list to avoid them, we can all use it, print it out and go down there with weapons and pummel those spammers :)
        • We could have a sabbatical style party. We all grab our weapons of choice, put on the "I'm not a spammer" color coded jacket, and start on one of the largest game hunts ever!!!!. We could set up teams and make it into a search and kill competition. That would be a great way to parlay all that paint gun experience into something useful and wholesome. Thank you Nigeria!

          I can't wait to tell mom, she'll be so proud. :P
      • In todays news, a man was found shot dead, the only clue to his identity was a staplegun full of sharp, rusty staples...
        a little joke, but also a cautious reminder of how things work in most third world nations.
        • In todays news, a man was found shot dead, the only clue to his identity was a staplegun full of sharp, rusty staples...

          Sad but true. That's exactly what would happen.
      • A lot of spam these days is run by the Russian Mafia (in particular much of the porn is). You probably wouldn't want to mess with them unless you had very good protection.
  • " is even a place to report your victim "experiences" so they can be published. " - as long as they don't also publish the e-mail address of the people writing about them. As to spam from Nigeria - I've never had any (that I know of) - how about everyone else?
    • As to spam from Nigeria - I've never had any (that I know of) - how about everyone else?

      I've gotten a couple of (slightly) different variations of it.
      • I've gotten 23 of this in the last 2 years (I'm not sure why I save them... I guess the social phenomenon intregues me. At least one person I've worked with has thought that it was a legit offer and only decided not to act after I laughed them off.)

        RECEIVED Sun, 24 Mar 2002 17:50:12
        Lagos, Nigeria
        FAX NO: 234 1 7590573



        I hope this letter will not embarrass you since we have not had any previous communication. I got your reference from the United States trade department under private enquiry that is not related to my aim of writing you this letter and went further to have it confirmed by the Nigeria Exports Promotion Council(NEPC).

        I, on behalf of my other colleagues from different Federal Government of Nigeria owned parastatals decided to solicit your assistance as regards the transfer of the above stated amount into your bank account. This fund arose from the over-invoicing of various contracts awarded in my parastatals to certain foreign contractors some time ago.

        We as holders of official positions in various parastatals, were mandated by this new civilian government to scrutinize all payments made to certain foreign contractors by the past Military Government and we discovered that some of the contracts they executed were grossly over-invoiced, either by omission or commission. Also we discovered that the sum of $65,560,000.00 (Sixty-Five Million, Five Hundred and Sixty Thousand United States Dollars Only) was lying in a suspense account, although the foreign contractors were fully paid their entitlements after executing the said contracts. We all agreed that the over-invoiced amount be transferred (for our own use) into a bank account provided by a foreign partner, as the code of conduct of the Federal Civil Service does not allow us to operate foreign accounts.

        However, we have succeeded in transferring some of these money, precisely US$20,000,000.00 (Twenty Million United States Dollars Only) into a foreign account in GENEVA (SWITZERLAND). But unfortunately, the provider of the account has severed all forms of contacts with us as he has refused to adhere to our earlier mutual agreement insisting that the total amount be paid into his nominated bank account before disbursement will take effect. If for US$20M (Twenty Million United States Dollars Only) we are not compensated, how can one guarantee full compensation on remittance of the balance of US$45.560M (Forty-Five Million, Five Hundred and Sixty Thousand United States Dollars Only).

        We are therefore seeking your assistance based on the balance amount of US$45.560M, which can be speedily processed and fully remitted into your nominated bank account. On successful remittance of the fund into your account, you will be compensated with 25% of the amount for assistance and services and 5% set aside for expenses contingency.

        This transaction is closely knitted and in view of our SENSITIVE POSITION we cannot afford a slip, I assure you that this transaction is 100% risk free. We will avail you with our identities as regards our respective offices, when relationship is fully established and smooth operation commences. I am at your disposition to entertain any question(s) from you in respect of this transaction, so contact me immediately through the above private email addresses( Presidency & mail) and fax number for further information on the requirements and procedure. Please note that the DEAL needs utmost confidentiality and your immediate response will be highly appreciated and we will use our own share of the money to establish a lucrative business in your country. Please you should contact me immediately with your private fax and telephone numbers where further details in respect to this transaction would be sent to.Please do not disregard my email for any reason because it was addressed to and from myself, it is for security reason to avoid problem. Yours truly,


    • Heck yes. The most hilariously outrageous one I received, by far, was one purporting to be from the widow of ex-dictator Mobuto, but otherwise being a normal "please let us clean out your bank accounts" message.
    • All I've heard in reference to Nigeria is the bank account fraud - where some foreign dictactor wants to put millions in your bank account for a short period - you'll get some money from it -but the victims end up with their bank accounts drained of funds instead.
    • As to spam from Nigeria - I've never had any (that I know of) - how about everyone else?

      I have. In fact, I've seen even more than usual of that spam this year! And, much to my relief, the spammers have bought a new keyboard - you know, ones that has lower-case letters too. =)

    • I get about 4-5 of these PER DAY at my work address! They're all from slightly different addresses (though is a popular host) with slightly different texts. Is someone offering these sort of like the old "Make $$$ at home!" ads which, when you pay for the instructions, you get a photocopied sheet telling you to take out "Make $$$ at home" ads? That's the only explanation I can come up with for the increased volume of these things. (And of course getting so many of them makes it clear that they're all a fraud...)
  • nigeria scams... (Score:4, Informative)

    by bje2 ( 533276 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:06PM (#3236439)
    we've actually gotten contacted for this scam through not only e-mail but through faxes at my office...yeah, like we're gonna think that a random fax that comes through is legit...right... that's almost as bad as the old "I send you this file in order to have your advice" virus...

    in any case, the Spam letters guy also has this link [] which has good information about fighting the nigeria scam...
    • I recently got a letter from Spain in the mail telling me I had won ~$US800,000 in a lottery. The hotmail email address was one indication of it's bogosity. A quick search of google unearthed a bunch of sad stories like a 84yo woman who sent them $US1500 plus her SS# and bank account #!
    • This scam is older than email.

      Back in the day, it was propagated solely by snail-mail, then fax, and now email. It's been going on a long time, and the US government has ongoing investigations.

      The problem is that the Nigerian govt is supposedly corrupt, and involved in the whole thing. Frankly this doesn't suprise me, but I dunno if it's actually true.

      Anyway, I work for a web-host, and one of our clients has this:

      Moderators - Please don't mod this up too high, because this server above cannot take a slashdotting.
    • the old "I send you this file in order to have your advice" virus...

      Damn that makes me feel old. I'm enough of an old timer to remember when that was the current scourge of the net! We had to carry our over-full bitbuckets back to the ISP (upsteam both ways, of course) in order to get rid of the damn thing. Now these young whippersnappers with their newfangled-- &lt/joke loses steam and evaporates abruptly />

  • by realgone ( 147744 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:08PM (#3236448)
    ...the Nigerian government... setup a web site to combat the common email scam.

    And in a burst of inspired irony, their first order of business was probably the purchase a 5,000,000 name e-mailing list to tell people about this new anti-spam site. =)

  • /.-ed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by InsaneCreator ( 209742 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:11PM (#3236472)
    Could we, for a change, try slashdotting the spammers instead of those trying to fight them?
    • Could we, for a change, try slashdotting the spammers instead of those trying to fight them?

      Do you understand what a slashdotting is? It means a shitload of people are viewing your page. So you'd rather send all this traffic to a spammer.

      Gee, I bet they'd be so upset.
  • by Dr Caleb ( 121505 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:13PM (#3236482) Homepage Journal

    in the corner of some ISP, a shiny new server is crying "You published a link to me WHERE?!?"

  • We actually got them on the phone. (My friend likes to get spammers on the phone via long distance and listens to them gab while he programs. He then says, "hey - you're a spammer. You wasted my time, now I've wasted yours. Enjoy the long distance charges")

    Anyway my friend got bored and actually told him that he knew he was a spammer etc. It was kind of funny all the denials and so forth. (I ought to get my friend to write the full story for you all as it was kind of funny and I'm sure I've screwed up part of the story)
  • Yeah, a scam, right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:14PM (#3236498) Homepage
    Nigeria _is_ a rich and corrupt country. Many people there _are_ relatives of government ministers with access to huge, hidden bank accounts. Earthlink [], Enron ... as far as we've come into the modern world we've got _nothing_ on Nigerians. Those of us lucky enough to be invited into their schemes should rejoice, open our bank accounts wide. The educational experience is priceless.
    • Just to be pedantic, the correct (or at least, original) attribution for your quote should be:
      Denis Diderot, "Dithyrambe sur la fete de rois"

      You can see this at .htm
    • Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest - Cactus Ed Abbey

      Ironic that God's view of things kind of parallels this.

      Judah wanted a king to lead them instead of God, and they also refused to deal with God directly for their spiritual needs, therefore raising a need for intermediary priests (Aaron and then the Levites) for this purpose.

      When it comes down to fundamentals, both priests and kings were raised by Atheism diluting Theism. I guess that makes `positive atheism' a perpetual self-employment program - albeit not normally a Latin-based one - exactly like the assumption-based preisthoods that they in principle oppose.

      Have you had enough irony in your diet today? (-:
    • OK, it's nice that there are real Nigerian politicians asking you not to send money to fake corrupt Nigerian politicians and fake corrupt widows and orphans of real corrupt Nigerian politicians, but it's getting pretty close to advertising for the whole business - at least one Anti-419 site I've seen was mainly there to promote the author's book on the 419 Scam. Is leaving your address with an Anti-419 site really helpful, or is it more like sending an "unsubscribe me please" note to a spammer? Is it really going to help Honest Nigerian Politicians stamp out the corrupt ones, or is it going to help Underpaid Nigerian Politicians find the guys with money and get a piece of their action? Is it going to find the spammers and get their email access cut off? Or can you do that without trashing all of Nigeria's real email or forwarding them all the Korean Schools Relay Spam?

      Real Corruption in Nigeria - and Shell Oil []

  • Snail Mail (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I recieved a scam message post marked from Nigeria in the U. S. mail. The scam was different (they just wanted my checking account number so they could transfer millions into it (yeah right!)). Email and faxes aren't the only problems with scams from that country.

    I guess all countries' people have scams too.
  • Uh guys ... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Christianfreak ( 100697 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:15PM (#3236503) Homepage Journal
    I think we just /.ed Nigeria.
  • If they were really serious, there would be an e-mail address you could forward the Nigerian scam mail to and then would personally track it and give the person the beat-down of their life.

    As an incentive, if you reported it, they'd send you the video of the person getting the Cowboy Neal done to them. ;)
    • > If they were really serious, there would be an e-mail address you could forward the Nigerian scam mail to and then would personally track it and give the person the beat-down of their life.

      Actually, it's often the other way around.

      While it's all well and good to laugh at the 419 scams we get in our mailbox, people have been kidnapped and murdered [] as part of these scams.

      Maybe the spam you got today was from some joker in a trailer park trying his luck. But I've seen some with headers that do indicate points of origin in Nigeria or other third-world countries.

      I follow the advice of the 419 Coalition []'s website, and forward them to the U.S. Secret Service, clearly indicating that I have suffered "NO FINANCIAL LOSS", and that my report is merely for the benefit of their archives.

      If the headers indicate (say, a city name on the reverse DNS of the dialup or cablemodem used to inject the spam) a point of origin, I usually add a note to the effect that the spammer may be based in whatever region the headers indicate. A little digging around WHOIS servers can usually get a probable country of origin.

      The one thing I never do is tip off the scammer that I know what he's up to. Remember, no SMTP header can tell you whether you're dealing with a chickenboner in a trailer park, or the outer edge of a real organized crime syndicate.

      Suppose that only 1% of your 419 scammers are "serious". Your mileage may vary, but thumbing your nose at 100 people, one of whom is running an organized crime syndicate, still qualifies as a cheap ticket out of the gene pool in my books. Are the cheap laughs from trolling the 99 trailer-park denizens really worth the risk?

      Let the Treasury guys take care of it. That's what they're paid for.

      • Your mileage may vary, but thumbing your nose at 100 people, one of whom is running an organized crime syndicate, still qualifies as a cheap ticket out of the gene pool in my books. Are the cheap laughs from trolling the 99 trailer-park denizens really worth the risk?

        Killing 100 people, one of whom is the grandson of a senator, qualifies as a cheap ticket out of the mobster business. Are the cheap laughs from killing the 99 trailer-park denizens really worth the risk?

        All the deaths mentioned in your link were people stupid enough to fall for it and walk right into their hands. No criminal organization can afford to start killing too many people for the heck of it. Large scale random deaths of upright citizens tends to get the police on your trail, something to be minimized if possible.
  • by Em Emalb ( 452530 ) <ememalb@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:16PM (#3236512) Homepage Journal

    Who came up with the idea of linking to a third world website? good grief, you know the telcos there can barely handle a slashdotting, much less a single website.

    BTW, I am constantly amazed at the sheer stupidity of the people of this earth. Reminds me of the old vegas scam: I have a bunch of counterfit chips, you give me $1000-2000 for them, but since I can't go inside because I have been banned, you cash them for me while I take your money and run. Nifty...uninformed people often receive nasty wake-up calls...then they tend to be like the rest of us, wary and skeptical.
  • Slashdotted (Score:2, Funny)

    by Dwarth ( 300904 )
    Seem we have Slashdoted the Nigeria

  • I very, very rarely get spam, but I got the Nigerian message literally two or three minutes before reloading /. to see this story posted. And it's already Slashdotted. :)

  • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:18PM (#3236522) Homepage Journal

    There is even a place to report your victim "experiences" so they can be published.

    Dozens of individuals JUST LIKE YOU are making thousands of dollars daily on the Internet everyday!!!!

    I know, I was skeptical, too, until I read about this fantastic offer that a friend told me about. He was cashing checks every couple of days for thousands of dollars!!!!

    Our free guide offers testimonies from thousands of clients that are ready and willing to buy the services that YOU, TOO, can offer over the Internet - for FREE!!!!

  • Poor DSL link in .uk (Score:4, Informative)

    by MavEtJu ( 241979 ) <slashdot.mavetju@org> on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:23PM (#3236560) Homepage 23h55m50s IN A domain name pointer

    Poor DSL link...
  • I received a variant of this one the other day. The difference is that instead of being Nigerian, this one is Congolese, supposedly from the widow of the late president Mobutu Sese-Seko.

    The Slashdot relevance of this is that it is addressed to the email address that I use ONLY for Slashdot, which I allow to be shown but only through spam-armoring. Chinks in the armor, it appears.
  • by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:24PM (#3236566) Homepage Journal
    Why not just use the microsoft spam solution []??
  • I hate spam. I get hundreds of offers for penis and breast enlargments and only a few are intriguing. I wish there was a way to stem the flood.

    Unfortunately, if you examine the problem from an information-theoretical viewpoint you'll find that that is impossible. Shannon's basic theorem was that noise is a property of communication. When you communicate, you have noise as a byproduct no matter what you do. Email is communication, spam is the noise. Web traffic is communication, popups are the noise. Slashdot is communication, trolls and crapflooders are the noise.

    One possibility for a solution is to reduce the communication itself via filters. For instance, some central agency could set up a computer to monitor all communication and delete targetted email messages or web traffic. As an act of communication-reduction this would guarantee at least a small amount of relief from noise. That's why I support Ashcroft in his plan to set the FBI up with Carnivore.

    • I came to the same conclusion, so two days ago I set up for the purpose of giving me unlimited e-mail addresses without having to fill out a hotmail form for each one.

      When my e-mail on this message starts getting too much spam, I'll just blackhole it and make a new random address. I've got different addresses for everyone, so I can tell where the spammers are harvesting.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      what?!? Shannon's basic theorem has nothing to do with spam. You've confused some philosphical view of "quality communication" with the information-theoretic definition of noise.

      > Email is communication, spam is the noise.

      Email is communication. Spam is noise. Spam is a type of email. Thus, spam is communication. Perhaps it is not communication you wish to receive, but it is communication nonetheless. And hardly random. In fact, those email's are highly structured sets of information some refer to as "sentences."
    • I am very tempted to configure my primary address to refuse any message that is not:
      1. GPG/PGP signed.
      2. Signer's public key is in a trusted keyserver (MIT, etc)
      3. The key listed on the server has been signed.
      4. The person who signed the key is somebody I know/trust.

      This is a drastic solution, but is slightly more scalable than a 'white list'. The first two rules alone should eliminate spam, the 'trust relationship' eliminates the remaining 'noise'.

      The big advantage is that it allows me to receive email not only from my friends, but also from friends-of-friends. If I expand the 'meta-trust' relationship further (friends of friends of friends, etc) then the pool eventually includes everybody, assuming you believe the 'six degrees of separation' theory :-)

      (BTW, nice troll there, PhysicsGenius.)

  • 419 Coalition (Score:5, Informative)

    by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:27PM (#3236577) Homepage
    For more information, see the 419 Coalition [] website. This is a huge problem in Nigeria. There is massive corruption in the Nigerian government and judicial system. It has also hurt legitimate Nigerian businesses.
    • Driving through Lagos, you will often see houses with "Beware 419" or "This House is NOT for Sale" painted in large on their walls.

      I asked my Nigerian friend what this meant. She said 419 is the criminal code for fraud. Foreigners in Lagos looking to buy or rent houses are taken by fraudulent estate agents to see nice villas. They get a nice tour of the hours (thanks to a corrupt servant), sign a lease or agreement, pay a deposit (usually up to a year's rent), and then receive the keys. When the real owners turn up, all hell breaks loose.

      This is a whole industry. Ironically, one of my friend's uncles did this as a living.

      Nigeria is an interesting country. The scam letters, faxes, and emails are nothing compared to the incredible behaviour of some people on the ground.

      However... don't get the wrong idea about Nigeria and Africa in general. The vast majority of people are, like everywhere else, decent and hard working. Getting up at 5am, getting home at 9pm, this is the standard rule for most employees. Given the lack of any long-term prospects for most people (a bank once told me a 'long-term' loan, for an established business, was 3 months) it's actually not surprising people turn to fraud and corruption.

  • Newsflash:

    A group of hackers who call themselves
    Slashdotters today successfully shut down the
    whole internet in Nigeria. The Nigerian head
    of information declined to comment, it is reported
    that he is still on hold with AOL tech support.

  • Banks are constantly being bombarded by spam asking them to launder money. I have seen many from African and Middle East origins.

    They are something to the effect of

    Hello, I am the son of a wealthy national and we are trying to get our money into the country. We will pay you a percentage if you cash our check.

    These most of the time are check fraud cases, but sometimes they are legitimate checks used in various money laundering schemes. Don't fall victim yourself.

    • Banks are constantly being bombarded by spam asking them to launder money. I have seen many from African and Middle East origins.

      I used to work in the IT department of a Major Australian Bank. This has been going on for years.

      About 10 years ago the faxes were usually in the form of trying to get people involved in "theft of money" from their employer. Or an investment scheme with the bank account in Nigeria.

      This was something that was clamped down on hard by Management within the Australian Banks at the time, to prevent some newly employed teller from being involved (along with drilling it into the staff about any form of fruad, highlighting the fact that anyone partaing will be carted off by the Australian Federal Police).

      There was a standard letter that the Nigerian scam at the time used, and it was used as an example within the Internal memos on the subject in general.

      Wish I had a copy of that letter from back then. It would be interesting to compare it to what we have now.

  • I feel so proud. Two weeks ago I opened my mail, and I had not one, but TWO Nigerian scam emails. I have been laughing about this scam for the longest time, but I never got hit... until now. It cracked me up so bad I almost email the guys back, but decided not to. I still have the emails in my archives, just in case I feel lonely someday... I can know that someone, somewhere, thought enough of me to try to scam me. :)
  • by Bob McCown ( 8411 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:30PM (#3236608)
    I modify the namea/dates/amounts/etc, and fire this off:


    It is so good to hear from a fellow-countryman, having been raised and lived for many years in our most beautiful homeland, Nigeria. I want to send you my sincere thanks and gratitude for your kind offer of USD$25,000.000.00 (TWENTY FIVE MILLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS) for taking part in this funds transfer transaction.

    However, I am a businessman too, and I make my living transferring large sums of money from and to my friends, relatives, and business associates in Nigeria. Therefore, I know that you would agree, that in order to participate in this wonderful opportunity, I must have an advance monetary commitment from you -- a good faith gesture on your part -- in order to proceed.

    Therefore, I ask that you deposit just 10% ($2,500,000) of the $25M into my PayPal account as an indication that you truly possess the funds and are actually authorized to release them. Using the online PayPal service is a very convenient and secure way to transfer funds. All you need do is access the PayPal web site -- -- open a PayPal account, deposit the funds into your new account, and then transfer the money into my existing account, which has already been set up to receive the $25M.

    You only need my email address, which you already have, to transfer the funds into my account. Therefore, the complete safety of your account, as well as mine, is guaranteed and insured unconditionally. You have asked that this matter be handled with the strictest confidentiality, and I will agree to that condition, provided that the transfer takes place in a reasonable period of time, say by Friday, 5 October.

    If the money has not been received by that time, I must assume that you are not making a legitimate offer, and that you might be someone other than who you say you are -- although I can tell by the exceptional language of your email, that is probably not the case. However, if that is the case, then I will be forced to embark upon a most unpleasant course of action that I would prefer not to undertake.

    Because I have so many loyal friends in the Government of Nigeria and the Military, and many close ties within the Security Service where you work, it would be quite easy to locate your office and your home, as well as learn the identities of your friends and relatives.

    I truly don't believe that you would want to jeopardize their health and well-being, and your own future. I will access my PayPal account on next Saturday to verify that your good-faith payment has been made. Once that takes place, we can move forward with the final transfer.

    I trust that you will not disappoint me in this matter, since the consequences for non-compliance could be quite severe. I look forward with great anticipation to working with you.

    Yours faithfully,

    Issa Gidada, JD, MMB,
    President & CEO
    U.S./Nigeria Funds Transfer Organization
    Beverly Hills, CA
  • The Nigerian government has set up a website to combat /.'rs who continually bring down websites. An official has been quoted saying "We are sick and tired of websites being taken down because of Slashdot. It is a menace that must be stopped!"
  • Protest! (Score:3, Funny)

    by xcomputer_man ( 513295 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:32PM (#3236624) Homepage
    As an avid internet user and Nigerian patriot, I wish to make a severe protest about this act of wickedness that has been committed by the Slashdot editors. As bad as scam letters can be, I think pulverizing our measly bandwidth and equipment with Slashdot readers is a little extreme as a spam-control measure.

    oga? wetin happen for dis server now?
  • You fools! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Webmoth ( 75878 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:38PM (#3236658) Homepage
    Don't you know that the Internet backbone of Nigeria consists of a drumbeat relay to a guy on the phone doing voice-mimicked modulation long-distance to a dial-up account in Rugby, North Dakota? (Note to self: Self, someone needs to write an RFC for this.)

    You're going to kill the percussion section of the Nigerian Symphony Orchestra by posting to Slashdot!

    "ATTENTION NIGERIA: All your bandwidth are belong to us!"
    • How did you get ahold of Intellectual Property?

      I was going to copyright / trademark / patent this tomorrow.

      Oh well ... I'll just go ahead and do it ... then sue you later for royalties ...

  • The country has a lot more people than you might guess, considering its size:

    Population of Nigeria: 108.20 million.

    Source: Nigeria Business Info []
  • by EchoMirage ( 29419 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @04:49PM (#3236734)
    A good deal of these spam e-mails are related to the Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud, which the U.S. State Department considers a big enough deal to publish their own materials on it. See here [] [link is to a PDF] or here []. The fraud is quite advanced, often going so far as to appear to originate from the Central Bank of Nigeria, use official letterheads and stationary, etc.

    The moral of the story is that sometimes spam is not just annoying, but potentially fraudulent and therefore dangerous. I'm glad to see something is being done about this, not only to curb spam, but also to prevent the scam from growing.
  • A few years back, I got this odd letter from Nigeria.

    Beautiful paper in the envelope and letter - sort of a marbled blue/white. Handwritten in incredible penmanship (not laser or inkjet).

    I felt really bad turning it in to the Postal Inspection Service (and even that guy thought it was "one of the prettiest scam letters" he'd ever seen. You just don't get that sort of workmanship with email.
  • If you ever read any of the scams, it usually indicates that the person has stolen money from Nigeria in some form or another and needs your help to transfer it out of the country. Now, you are invited to help steal and you go with it. Doesn't that make you a thief if you agree to the offer? If your money is now stolen in the process, wouldn't you call it an irnoic form of justice? You were stupid enough to want to be a thief and when you get robbed, you suddenly call yourself a victim. Wouldn't it be better for the police to arrest you not only for being stupid, but also for being a self proclaimed thief?
    • The best scams hook the victim into doing (or attempting to do) something illegal. That discourages them from calling the cops.

      One classic example is the "money duplicator" scam. The pitch revolves around a gadget that can supposedly produce perfect counterfeits, but takes several hours per bill (the scammer is supposedly willing to sell it because he needs a large amount of money right away). The gadget is demonstrated using a concealed real bill. By the time the victim realizes that the machine isn't producing any more money (another reason for the "several hours per bill" bit), the scammer is long gone and the victim has had time to realize that he can't call the cops without admitting his own intent to print and circulate funny money.

      Yeah, it sounds too stupid to fool anyone capable of walking upright, but then so does the Nigerian bank scam.

  • There was a report on this on Channel 12 News in Portland, OR. The EFF guy in the article seems to think no one will fall prey to such a cheesy scam, but according to the TV report, people were (big surprise here) quite stupid enough to become victims. I guess one guy in the Portland area lost his savings or something to it.

    Apparently, the first part required something like $5,000 to be deposited. They said the money was in Canada first. Then it went to the UK. Then...well, it got withdrawn one way or another and the people lost track of it. The scammer then sent them another message telling them that they had to put in more money to get past some customs post or another, and they sobered up and didn't give him any more of their dough.

    You might say, "jeeze these guys are bloody idiots!" Well yes they are...heh...but to the layman it is pretty convincing. According to the report, the fellow who the TV victims responded to sent them all manner of official-looking waste paper to convince them. If one is not up on this sort of thing, I can see how he could be taken in.

  • by imuffin ( 196159 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @05:13PM (#3236931)
    I think this is awesome. From []:

    This has become a huge industry. According to some published reports, this has become the third largest industry in Nigeria. During the last thirteen years, there are estimates that the scam has taken in $5,000,000,000 in total, and hundreds of millions of dollars every year. These estimates may be underreported, as many victims may not wish to admit that they have been defrauded.

    If taking money from gullible people can net you that much, well... More power to them!
  • In case anyone is curious what one of these emails looks like, I got this in my inbox, from, when I arrived at work today. Suffice to say I can't wait to get my hands on the money! ;)

    Dear Sir,
    I am Mr. Joseph Okoli. Bank Manager of Diamond
    Bank of Nigeria, Lagos Branch. I have urgent and
    very confidential business proposition for you. On
    June 6, 1997, a FOREIGN Oil consultant/contractor
    with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,
    Mr. Barry Kelly made a numbered time (Fixed)
    Deposit for twelve calendar months, valued at US
    $25,000,000.00 (Twenty- five Million Dollars) in my
    branch. Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to
    his forwarding address but got no reply. After a
    month, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered
    from his contract employers, the Nigerian National
    Petroleum Corporation that Mr. Barry Kelly died
    from an automobile accident. On further investigation,
    I found out that he died without making a WILL, and
    all attempts to trace his next of kin was fruitless. I
    therefore made further investigation and discovered
    that Mr. Barry Kelly did not declare any kin or
    relations in all his official documents, including his
    Bank Deposit paperwork in my Bank. This sum of US
    $25,000,000.00 is still sitting in my Bank and the
    interest is being rolled over with the principal sum at
    the end of each year. No one will ever come forward
    to claim it. According to Nigerian Law, at the
    expiration of 5 (five) years, the money will revert to
    the ownership of the Nigerian Government if nobody
    applies to claim the fund. Consequently, my proposal
    is that I will like you as an Foreigner to stand in as
    the next of kin to Mr. Barry Kelly so that the fruits of
    this old man's labor will not get into the hands of
    some corrupt government officials. This is simple, I
    will like you to provide immediately your full names
    and address so that the Attorney will prepare the
    necessary documents and affidavits, which will put
    you in place as the next of kin. We shall employ the
    service of two Attorneys for drafting and notarization
    of the WILL and to obtain the necessary documents
    and letter of probate/administration in your favor for
    the transfer. A bank account in any part of the world,
    which you will provide, will then facilitate the
    transfer of this money to you as the beneficiary/next of
    kin. The money will be paid into your account for us
    to share in the ratio of 60% for me and 40% for you.
    There is no risk at all as all the paperwork for this
    transaction will be done by the Attorney and my
    position as the Branch Manager guarantees the
    successful execution of this transaction. If you are
    interested, please reply immediately via the private
    email address below. Upon your response, I shall
    then provide you with more details and relevant
    documents that will help you understand the
    transaction. Please observe utmost confidentiality,
    and rest assured that this transaction would be most
    profitable for both of us because I shall require your
    assistance to invest my share in your country.
    Awaiting your urgent reply via my email: .com and .
    Thanks and regards.
  • by waldoj ( 8229 ) <waldo.jaquith@org> on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @06:06PM (#3236991) Homepage Journal
    Robin Miller [] has a rather-amusing reply [] that he sends to the Nigerian scam letters that he gets. I hope he won't mind my pasting it in below.

    -Waldo Jaquith

    Corporate (Special) Trust Fund,
    United Political Parties of America,
    Contract Award Committee,
    Washington DC USA

    Dear Esteemed Nigerian Sir:

    I am the Chairman of the Contract Award committee and my committee is solely responsible for awarding and payment of contracts on behalf of the United Political Parties of America. My Committee has received payments from Enron, Microsoft, Walt Disney, and many other large American companies that we then disbursed in accordance with United States law to the intended politicians in return for government services rendered to The Corporations. We overshot the contracted sum by USD35 Million. We have paid the politicians and withholding the balance of Thirty-Five Million United States Dollars. Since the existing domestic laws forbid civil servants from opening, operating and maintaining foreign accounts, we do not have the expertise to transfer this balance of funds to a foreign account.

    Due to the salubrious investment and taxation climate in Nigeria, as outlined in FMF A26 Unit 3B paragraph "D" of the Auditor General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Report of NOV. 1999 about annual estimated petroleum revenues of 28billion US Dollars, and especially opportunities relateed to the late Head of State General Sani Abacha who died on 8th June 1998, which we have become aware of through various emails we have received from your countrymen about the supply of Agricultural Machines and spare parts to the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, we have prepared to pay a commission to a worthy individual like yourself equal to 25% of the total sum transfered while 5% will be reserved for incidental expenses that both parties will incur in the course of actualizing this transaction and the balance of 70% will be kept for the Committee members.

    If you know you are capable of helping us actualize our life's dream, you should send to me immediately the details of your bank particulars or open a new account where we can transfer the money(US$35M)which you will hold in trust for us until we come over there for our own share.

    As soon as you open the account, send by e-mail to me immediately the details of the account viz: Name of bank, address, routing number, telex number, Account number, Tel and Fax number.You should also include the name of your company, your personal address, Tel and Fax numbers for further communication.

    Note that this transaction will be concluded within 10 working days from the day you give your consent.

    Sincerely yours,

    Worgee G. Shub
    Chairman of Disbursements,
    Corporate (Special) Trust Fund,
    United Political Parties of America,
    Contract Award Committee,
    Washington DC USA

    tel: 1-900-CON-4YOU

  • Short of police investigation and arrests, nobody is going to put a dent into the amount of scams going on by putting the scammers on a Web site. The unfortunately gullable person isn't going to check some Nigerian web site every time they get an offer via Email.
  • What a great place. Between this and execution by stoning [] for the heinous crime of actually having sex, there's no reason not to make Nigeria your next vacation destination!


    • What a great place. Between this and execution by stoning [] for the heinous crime of actually having sex, there's no reason not to make Nigeria your next vacation destination!

      Actually she was granted a reprieve when the appeals court said that since she committed adultery before the law was passed she shouldn't be stoned.

    • While my (Nigerian) girlfriend would likely agree with you, keep in mind that Sharia is "only" in use by the Islamic states in the North, and only for muslims, and has actually been declared illegal and a violation of the constitution by the federal government.

      So while that might not stop them from carrying out sentences, it is certainly not something that affects all of Nigeria.

      That aside though, my girlfriend has some quite horrifying stories about the level of crime in Nigeria, and for white people there's the added issue that we're practically signposts saying "tourists" and "easy targets" for criminals.

  • I just look at the headers and forward any unwanted mail to the abuse@/ as a violation of the TOS. My mail that used to be 30-40% spam has gone down to 10-20%. Since most mail I get have phoney "Unsubscribe" links, I'm not even wasting my time. A simple script forwards the spam to the ISP in question and they take care of it. Last I heard even Yahoo is talking about charging for large amounts of mail traffic from one of their addresses.

  • by mabu ( 178417 )
    I remember receiving the Nigerian scam letters in snail mail 10 years ago. I laughed then at anyone who was STUPID enough to fall for the idea that that they're going to get a few million dollars for doing next to nothing.

    My feeling on this scan is this: It's a litmus test for idiots, to separate money from greedy morons that don't deserve to have it. I actually like this scam circulating because it's quite efficient at keeping lusers occupied with the idea that they can get something for nothing so they don't bother the rest of us with their boneheaded get-rich-quick schemes.

    I could do without the spam for sure, but this scam serves two useful purposes:

    1. It reinforces my impression that Nigeria is probably the last place on earth I would want to visit or do business with.

    2. It helps extricate money from people who don't deserve to have it. If you fall for this scam, you deserve to lose your money. It's like financial survival of the fittest.
  • Hi,

    Here's another thing to consider - I was hosting a horse show once and got a request from someone in Nigeria for a "letter of invitation" to attend.

    A woman who works at a college told me that often a letter of invitation is needed to travel to North America from certain countries. Also, it might also make you responsible for the person.

    I ignored the email.

  • It is quite simple! Just post the URL or email of the offending party on Slashdot for the sum total of five minutes and the overload of requesets caused by the loyal(nosy)readers will quickly take care of the offenders servers.

    And it is a free service. Non profit with an employee base of over 300k.

    Captain Neal should set up a service and charge companies for this. IT could work both ways.

    1. Pay for your companies URL never to appear on slashdot.
    2. Pay for your competitors,enemies, inlaws etc.

    Yep, I am a capitalist.
  • Two good resources on the Nigerian scam:
  • From The Spam Letters []:

    Subject: Re: confidentaility
    To: hamza kalu <>
    From: Jonathan Land <>
    Date: 08/08/2001

    Jonathan Land,

    If you disturb me again i will use african vodoo agaainst you. You will loose your manhood and may die infact i am looking at you now from a calabash of water and wondering if i should strike you dead but i see a girl an innocent girl, her spirit is strong i will let you pass this time. Hamza.
    Hamza, You're the funniest fucker in the world. I'd like to see your African Voodoo against my American Technology. I'm a top muckity-muck in the Department Of Defense. I'll have a Smart Bomb in your lap faster than you can play Hot Potato with it. They'll be picking those voodoo pins out of the remnants of your ass right up until the funeral. So seriously, I'm not a cop or anything:
    a) Are you even remotely near Nigeria?
    b) How many people do you send emails like this out to, and how many actually fall for it?
    c) Why did you keep writing back to me when I was obviously yanking you harder than a wood chipper? I could imagine that you deal with a lot of humorless folks in this line of work, and I might be a breath of fresh air. Essentially, I'm really curious... how well has this racket worked for you? According to this site: [] the scam you're running is actually a major industry in Nigeria, so I guess it's going well. Jon
  • In Finnish news yesterday, an ex-minister was charged of debt fraud. He had taken loans from various sources to pay for his losses in Nigerian letter scams. He estimates that he lost about $350,000 in the scams.

    Olavi J. Mattila was previously Finnish Foreign Minister, Minister of Trade and Industry, and Minister of Foreign Trade. That is, a major political figure. He was also the CEO of some large Finnish multi-billion-dollar companies (such as Valmet, a world-known machinery company) and a presidential councellor. His education was a Master of Engineering and Master of Economic Science. He retired in 1982.

    So he wasn't just a dabbler in business. Perhaps he was getting senile at his current age of 84.

    So no wonder people fall for the scams...

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