The Nigerian Web Scam

You've seen these before, where someone from overseas is offering you a slice of a billion-dollar pie.
The letters usually long-winded and read something like this:

from: Barrister.Ola Noah

Attn: The managing Director,

Dear Sir,

I am Barrister. ola noah legal adviser to Mohammed Abacha, the heir apparent to the Estate of the late Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, late General Sani Abacha.

I am contacting you due to the present situation as regard the special panel set up by the new democratic administration spear headed by President Olusegun Obasanjo who was jailed by my client's father during his tenure for an attempted coup plot against his then administration. An anti-corruption bill has recently been passed in the country (Apparently targeted at my client's family) to recover all supposed looted money kept by Abacha's family both locally and abroad. This exercise has been on since the demise of my client's father.

The government has succeeded so far in recovering the sum of $3.2 billion dollars from a Swiss bank account belonging to my client's father. As at six months ago, they recovered the sum of $565 million dollars and on the 11th of November 2001, another $395 million dollars was recovered due to the co-operation of the Swiss banks. These facts can be confirmed from the Nigeria embassy in your country or you can request for the March 2000 edition of the Newsweek magazine or CNN/BBC publications on Abacha.

I am consulting you on behalf of my client, Mr. Mohammed Abacha who has mandated me to urgently look for a foreigner partner with business experience to help us immediately move and receive an approximate amount of about $14.5 million dollars (Fourteen million five hundred thousand united states dollars) out of the Netherlands into any account of yours, the account required for this project can either be personal, company or an offshore account that you have total control over. Your area of specialization will not be a hindrance to the successful execution of this transaction.

This fund was brought into the Netherlands for investment purpose through diplomatic means and has since been deposited in a private security and finance company and was tagged an official consignment belonging to a foreign affiliate and placed in a crate and tagged antique, thereby making the consignment safe and the actual content undisclosed to the security company.

All I want you to do is to receive the said amount in your name and invest it on behalf of my client's family who shall be a partner (under anonymity) in whatever business venture you intend investing the money on. All documentation regarding this transaction is all in my possession and a power of attorney to transact this business has been fully given to me by my client. In the light of the above, I am soliciting your assistance and partnership to move this fund out of the Netherlands as you and I stand to benefit immensely from this transaction.

After due consultation and approval from my client, we have both agreed that 20 percent of the fund will be given to you for your assistance for investment purpose in any country of your choice. Please contact me if you will be able and interested in assisting .I would be delighted to reveal further details of this whole operation on your quick response.

Most sincerely,

Barrister. Ola Noah.

The name is always different, but the message is always the same. Some people actually fall for this and allow a total stranger access to their bank accounts. Thankfully most people see through the scam and simply delete the message. Personally, I like to have a little fun with these guys, and actually reply to them. So far (for some strange reason) no-one has ever returned any of my messages:

Dear Dr. Leo:

Your problems are solved! I just notified the United States FBI, and they are VERY INTERESTED in your situation. As a matter of fact, they (the FBI) already knew everything about your problem all along, and told me not to worry because they were planning on taking care of you immediately!

Don't bother to say thanks; just glad to help.


Dear Tutu:

Your problems are solved! I just contacted the United States FBI, and they seem VERY INTERESTED about your situation. As a matter of fact, they even know who you are! They told me not to worry, as they plan to take care of you very soon.

What a bunch of nice guys... by the way, you don't need to thank me; I'm just trying to help.


Dear Yakubu:

Your worries are over! I'm sorry that I couldn't help you myself, so I decided to let the United States FBI take over. They told me NOT to worry, because they were already aware of your situation and were willing to take care of you anyway they could. As a matter of fact, I was surprised that they already knew all about you... you must be very happy!

You don't need to thank me, I'm just glad to help out.

The FBI also told me that EVERYBODY living in Nigeria has much MORE than $15,000,000, which means that you are SAFE, and not in any trouble of losing any of your money, since having only $15,000,000 is considered as "poor" in Nigeria (as opposed to $450,000,000 like everyone else).

Have a great day!


After awhile I got tired of using the lame and phony "FBI" threat, and decided to get a little more creative:

Dear Paul:

What a coincidence! I also happen to be an attorney representing dead people, except that MY dead people are worth $15,000,000,000,000 US dollars. Here's MY offer:

All I need are bank account numbers from all your friends, relatives and co-workers (along with addresses, phone numbers, credit cards, personal ID's and the maiden name of both your grand-mothers) to hide at least $14,000,000,000,000, while you get to keep the extra $1,000,000,000,000... which is PEANUTS compared to that generous $5.7 million you offered before.

Meet me on the corner of E55 and Carnegie Ave. in beautiful Cleveland, Ohio sometime next year at midnight and we can continue our transaction. Just to make sure that all is legit, I asked the FBI to oversee the entire operation. The funny thing is that they already know everything about you and are more than happy to see you. They told me to keep everything secret, but I know I can trust total strangers like you.

I know by now you must be overflowing with gratitude, but you don't need to thank me. I just like helping out my new friends on the web.



Dear Harold:

Listen, I have my own problems. I currently have $186,400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that's $186- plus ga-zillion-zillion dollars) that I'm trying to hide and transfer right now, and don't need to be bothered by your puny "less-than-a-billion-dollar" problem. The e-stamp for replying to your message will cost you 37 cents (US). Please do not write back if you do not want any more "e-stamp" charges.

Your friend,


Doctor Dennis:

Sorry, I cannot help. I am currently trying to embezzle $3,141,159,270,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that's about 3-gazillion dollars) right now, and have no time for your puny "million-dollar" problem. However, if you still need assistance, then I suggest you visit the following website:

...where you will find more than enough people to help you.


One time I got a letter from someone who claimed to be siphoning money from a fictional company called UBA:

Listen, SAM, or JOHN, or whatever your name really is...

First of all, I *OWN* the UBA, so you better give me my money back right now!

Secondly, I am currently trying to embezzle $1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that's one-billion-trillion-ga-zillion-ba-jillion dollars) right now and do not want to be bothered with your PUNY million-dollar deal.

Finally, if you really need help, I suggest that you write a nice letter to:

They should be able to help you almost immediately. As a matter of fact, they seem to already know who you are. No, you don't need to thank me, I'm just trying to help.

A friend,


Another time I got a letter from someone was offering a slice of only $915,000. I mean, that's not even a cool million! Where's the temptation?


$915,000? Is that ALL? Listen, if you're going to scam someone, at least make the deal a little more attractive, like $915,000,000. Geez...


This time I got (not one) but two scammers on the same day day! What are the odds? To commemorate the event, I took the opportunity to reply to both of them:

Dear Dr. Micheal Okafor:

I cannot help you, but know a friend who can. His name is MR. JAMES KYARI, and his e-mail address is...

Dear Mr. James Kyari:

I cannot help you, but know a friend who can. His name is DR. MICHEAL OKAFOR, and his e-mail address is...

After about a year, I finally got bored and tired of replying; it just wasn't fun anymore. Here was the very last e-mail to a scammer using the moniker "Steve":


I really hate to break the bad news to you, but in the 21st century this scam doesn't work anymore. However, I can offer a list of get-rich-quick schemes that you are not fully aware of:

  1. Online 3-card monty.
  2. Become a "cyber-bouncer" at a chat room, and demand tips (or else!).
  3. Charge everyone you write to the cost of an "e-stamp" for unpaid "e-postage" that was sent back to you.
  4. Tax the entire world at the end of "Daylights Savings Time" for every hour that anyone has to turn each of their clocks back.
  5. Write a check for ***NEGATIVE*** $100. If that person cashes it, then they OWE YOU $100.
  6. Find a grocery receipt in the trash, go inside the store, and steal the same exact items listed on the receipt.
  7. Play "tic-tac-toe" for money. Always make sure you are 'X', and always start at the corner. Your chances of winning are 87.5%.
  8. Always bet AGAINST the Cleveland Browns football team. In the rare case that they ever win, then double-or-nothing your bet on the next game.
  9. Floss your teeth. No, this will not make you rich, but at least your teeth will be clean and healthy.
  10. Mail yourself a free letter. Make sure the RETURN address is the same as YOUR address, and you will get your letter back, without using a stamp! Not only that, but you get to read your same letter again.

The list goes on and on, but for now I am really interested about one thing: if you truly find someone who will fall for your scam, then give me his e-mail address right away. Maybe I can con him/her into mowing my lawn for free this summer.

Best regards,


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