Conversations With a Nigerian Scam Artist

The following series of emails attempts to playfully document one of the world's most infamous cons: the Nigerian Email Scam, aka the 419 scam, aka the advance-fee fraud.

For Fools like us, it's truly difficult to comprehend, but tens of millions of dollars have been stolen from honest, unwitting victims through the use of a scam that was first created more than 90 years ago. Astonishingly, it continues to be effective.

While we sympathize with those who fall prey, we at The Motley Fool also believe we have a duty to educate, amuse, and enrich our community as well. In that vein, please enjoy the following conversation between one mischievous Fool and his new, wealthy friend:

From: Mr. Patrick Jeff
Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2010 10:08 PM
To: Nick Kapur
Subject: Greetinge to you my dear

Attention.

I am the chairman Debt Reconciliation committee, we wish to inform you that due to the reform going on now and the agreed meeting held last week, it has been resolved that your payment should be effected immediately through the HSBC Bank Lodon, J P Morgan Chase New York or Bank for international settlement Swiss.

You are adviced to make your choice in between these 3 Banks
You should also Note that only $10 million will be paid to you as the case maybe.

Please do confirm to us which of the Banks you will like your payment to go through.

Regards.
Mr Patrick Jeff

From: Nick Kapur
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 2010, 2:35 PM
To: Mr. Patrick Jeff
Subject: RE: Greetinge to you my dear

Mr. Jeff,

What glorious news!

I've recently lost all my money speculating on call options for the Motors Liquidation Company. Strong bullish advances seemed like such a lock at the time ... but alas, GM stock might actually be worth zero. I swear this market is rigged!

Now, with what little money I have left, I'm going all-out on Ambac LEAPs. This is precisely why your email is such a GODSEND! I'm desperately looking for more capital.

So, how do I get my money? I choose JPMorgan as my bank. Do I get all $10 million at once? I sure hope so. I think I'm getting a margin call from my broker as we speak.

What information do you need from me to complete the transaction?

Best,
Nick  

From: Jeff Patrick
Sent: Wednesday, November 03, 2010 3:01 PM
To: Nick Kapur
Subject: Attention My Dear Nick Kapur is very urgent

Attention Sir
 
I got your revert mail to the subject matter and will have to advice you to forward urgently your receiving Banking information without mistake as it has been noted about your choice Bank.
 
Full Beneficiary Name
Bank Name
Bank Address
Bank Account Number
Swift Code
Copy of your Passport
 
You are therefore adviced to funish us with the details of your account and your working Telephone numbers for easy communications.
 
Thank You
Mr. Frank Jeff

From: Nick Kapur
Subject: RE: Attention My Dear Nick Kapur is very urgent
To: "'Jeff Patrick'"
Date: Wednesday, November 3, 2010, 7:28 PM

Mr. Frank Jeff,

Glad to hear from you. I recently spoke with your acquaintance Mr. Patrick Jeff (you must be brothers — I LOVE family operations!!!). Anyway, I would be happy to supply you with all my relevant banking information. That way we can surely expedite the transaction. I do have one small request first, however.

Due to lingering pressure on the US dollar, can I request that I get paid in gold bullion rather than in good old greenbacks? With Ben and Co. announcing today that they're firing up the presses to the tune of $75 billion per month, I have serious concerns about fiat currencies. Perhaps you can address this issue for me by just shipping me a container or two of gold bars?

If my math is correct, if you convert the $10 million that you accidently discovered belonged to me into gold (at today's rate of $1,343.90 per oz), that comes to around 230 kilos of gold. I imagine that shouldn't be too difficult.

Please let me know if you need quotes on shipping — I know a few firms that are quite reasonable!

I trust this issue won't hold us up for long. Once you confirm, I'll happily send you all the specific information you need from my JPMorgan account.

Thanks, Frank.

-Nick

From: Jeff Patrick
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 11:31 AM
To: Nick Kapur
Subject: Attention My Dear Nick Kapur is very urgent

Dear Brother Nick,

Many thanks for your email in which you confirm to me your seriously and willingness to do this transaction with me, Infact we are now as One Blood family. However this transaction will be done through Bank to Bank wire transfer to your nominated Bank account in US because making it through shipping will have a strong delay and penalities because of your Government which i do not want anything will keep the fund on hold not to reach to you. So My Brother i will like you immediately forward to me your contact info so that i will start the processing of the documents on your name as a beneficiary of the fund.

Your Details requested
Bank Name
Bank Account Number
Swift Code
Routing Number
Bank Address
Bank Tel/fax Number

Immediately i receive this details of you we shall commence as soon as possible and get everything done. Once again i will advice you to call me on my Cell Phone Number +234 7066266430 for more details. I await for your immediate response

Sincerely
Mr Frank Patrick Jeff.

From: Nick Kapur
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 3:21 PM
To: 'Jeff Patrick'
Subject: RE: Attention My Dear Nick Kapur is very urgent

Dear Brother Frank Patrick Jeff,

We are, indeed, 'One Blood family.' I consider you my brother, just like I consider the traders at Goldman Sachs to be my brothers. Bless you!

Sadly, I must report that we cannot do business. It appears that the SEC is investigating me for making spurious claims about access to mysterious liquidity pools in Africa. THEY actually don't believe that we're One Blood family! And they don't believe you are right about to WIRE ME US $10 MILLION!!! It's mind-boggling that they wouldn't count this as capital to count against margin requirements.

In a cruel twist of fate, they've decided to shut me down and unfold all my investments. Isn't that absolutely CRAZY?

Alas, I'm sad to say I can't do anything with the $10 million you are prepared to send me.

I wish you the best of luck, brother.

Mr. Nick

Fool Nick Kapur is just having a spot of fun. He has no interests in any email scams of any kind. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (31) | Recommend This Article (127)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 08, 2010, at 10:36 AM, starbucks4ever wrote:

    The American ones operate more efficiently!

  • Report this Comment On November 08, 2010, at 12:01 PM, TMFTheDoctor wrote:

    Nick,

    I suggest you read through this Achewood arc for inspiration on how to proceed: http://achewood.com/index.php?date=03052007. There's a couple random posts in between the arc posts, just click past them.

  • Report this Comment On November 08, 2010, at 12:37 PM, TMFAleph1 wrote:

    Check out some of the following world-class 'scambaits'.

    http://www.419eater.com/html/letters.htm

    I highly recommend 'The Tale of the Painted Breast', which is a masterpiece of the genre:

    http://www.419eater.com/html/joe_eboh.htm

  • Report this Comment On November 08, 2010, at 12:47 PM, TMFAleph1 wrote:

    Some of the 'scambaits' referenced above (including 'The Tale of the Painted Breast') even achieve the seemingly impossible: Scamming the scammer. Believe it or not, the scambaiters actually convince the Nigerian con artists to send THEM money using exactly the same tactics/ setups that are the bread and butter of 419 scams.

  • Report this Comment On November 08, 2010, at 12:53 PM, dargus wrote:

    Nick,

    If you have any more contact with Mr. Jeff, could you please inquire as to the status of my $10 million? I sent him all of my account information, and have not yet received my payment. I'm sure it must be some mistake as all the money has been removed from my account. There seem to be too many fat fingers in finance these days. If you could also let him know I will be very happy to help with his charitable donations, as well at match his contribution, as soon as the payment becomes available to me.

  • Report this Comment On November 08, 2010, at 4:50 PM, specktest999 wrote:

    The real Nigerian finance minister must really be getting tired of this.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 9:10 AM, jonrognerud wrote:

    This is so funny, sad and ridiculous, all at the same time.

    Hopefully, people will wake up to this scam.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 10:06 AM, MaxTheTerrible wrote:

    It's an entertaining read, but I seriously doubt there are still people who would take a message with a subject like "greetings my dear" or a line like "provide you banking information, kindly" seriously...

    However, there are more "advanced" scam schemes out there that I think need more publicity than the one you've highlighted (maybe an idea for a series of articles").

    For instance, I've encountered one scam recently while trying sell stuff on Craigslist. The scam basically involves a fake cashier's check for an amount of the original purchase PLUS some extra. The extra amount could be for various causes, for example, "shipping" that the "buyer" will ask you to wire to his "associate"/ "shipper"/ whoever else. The disturbing part is that, according to Craigslist website, the bank will cash the check and then hold you responsible for wire fraud.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 10:48 AM, bizacumen wrote:

    Dear Nick,

    The $10 million was sent to Honorable Ben who is pooling it in with the monies that he is printing!

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 1:34 PM, Harker207 wrote:

    My favorite new scam is the one for providing compensation to victims of other Nigerian banking scams. It's a meta-scam!

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 1:36 PM, BrewDood wrote:

    Amazing that people fall prey to these "opportunities." I don't even open these emails anymore for amusement. A few years back, however, I actually got a letter in snail mail from Nigeria with the same opportunity.

    I kept it hoping to frame it for my friends' amusement. Never did, and it's in a box somewhere. Very official looking.

    I would be willing to take the time to look for it and send it to someone for $1.8M USD. What a great gift for Christmas.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 1:44 PM, NudeTypist wrote:

    Hey, when the Prince of Nigeria contacts you directly, you don't refuse his requests!

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 2:22 PM, MKArch wrote:

    Nick,

    I had someone call me informing me I won something and before he could get in another word I thanked him and told him to send it to me. He claimed I didn't understand and again before he could get in another word I informed him I understood exactly I won something and would like it sent to me. When he explained he didn't know where to send it I informed him that since he had my phone number surely he had my address as well so it should be no problem just send me my prize. He finally hung up on me.

    Mike

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 3:15 PM, frtedcrilly wrote:

    Boiler rooms...ringing company directors world-wide, using much more sophisticated speak, lying more convincingly, taking millions for over-trusting clients every day. Timeshare sellers/renters, currency "brokers/jokers" I get sick of their calls here in Ireland, 90% of dealers calling are fake. Sad thing, most of these come from a so-called developed country, the Us of A... Sad thing is they destroy livews, destroy trust, and destroy faith in human beings..Good thing we have the Fool!

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 4:41 PM, talotu wrote:

    US Banks solicit their customers to sign "financial advisor" agreements where they ask their customers to sign an agreement saying two things:

    1. We will from time to time advise you do to things that are in our best interest, and not yours.

    2. You are signing away your rights to any fair forum for resolving differences, which covers any misdeeds that we may make, or have already made. Your claims will be held in a forum that we control, by arbitrators whose income depends on us liking their decisions.

    It took "con-men" 90 years to scam americans out of tens of millions, BofA does that in about a month.

    All of you that pride yourself on "not being taken" check out the arbitration agreements you sign for your cell phone, your car, your credit cards, and your bank accounts.

    The only difference between the Nigerian scam artists and the banks is that the banks hire lawyers to craft agreements so you sign away any right to take legal action to get your money back once you've figured out that you have been conned.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 4:55 PM, JBG189 wrote:

    Funniest reverse scam story ever: http://www.zug.com/pranks/powerbook/

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 5:27 PM, pack713 wrote:

    I know someone who actually fell for one of these scams. She was so happy that she had "won" $750,000, all she had to do was wire them $2000 to cover the "taxes" on the money she had won. I could do nothing be sit there with my mouth open and stair at her and she keep going on about her "winnings". I just had to walk away when she said she actually sent them the money.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 8:04 PM, RLAprof wrote:

    I sold something on Craigslist and got a couple of those emails from a rich dude with very broken English who wanted to send me a cashier's check for a little more than the amount, all I had to do is send him the remainder, and his assistant would provide me with the shipping address, etc, etc.... So I gave him the address to which he could send the check... I just didn't put the local police chief's title in front of his name and address.

    I never warned the police chief in advance, so he likely opened this check made out to him for about $1000 one day.... Could be he's still scratching his head. :)

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2010, at 8:24 PM, beFoolish123 wrote:

    There has been a similar scam been shown last sunday on CNBC "Following the Money" i believe where a woman was been scammed by a email.She paid half a million for bigger bucks.She later came forward and helped dateline in catching a similar scam where a Nigerian guy tries to scam her off saying she could convert the black notes into us money. And that the money she is supposed to get is in the shipment and so she has to pay 37k to get it from the authorities.The dateline people were monitoring the whole scene and they later hand him to the cops. The guy was a Nigerian in US and had been in prison for similar charges.

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2010, at 12:48 AM, dgmennie wrote:

    Many of the Nigerian scammers cannot resist having the last word. Once I tell them they are not getting any "advance fee" money, they let loose with incredible rambling nonsense in broken English. For your amusement, I present:

    ----------------------------------------

    From: uche enyika

    Sent: Fri, May 28, 2010 4:31 am

    Subject: ARE YOU STUPID/AFTER I HAVE PAID ALL FOR YOU TO RECEIVE YOUR ATM CARD

    Hello,

    Are you stupid by using such word to me,after i have spent all of my money to make sure that you will receive your Atm Card that have been programmed for you to receive in time and start withdrawing your fund over there in your country.

    That was the reason why i registered it to the courier when our senators called me to know if there is any payment that have not been paid in my office and immediately they ask me such question i know that they want to call your payment back to there private account that was the reason why i went immediately to the courier company to registered it and paid them all of there fee.

    And now the only fee that you are advise to pay them now is only the official fee which is the only fee you are advise to contact them with and remember not to contact them without the fee,and once again dont let them know what is inside the parcel so that it will not cost much again so you have to try your best and make sure that the fee is send to them before tomorrow morning so that you will receive your Atm Card immediately the official fee is sent to them.

    Dont forget to let me know any time you received your Atm Card,and do call me or email me immediately the official fee is sent to the courier company so that i will proceed to they company to make sure that your Atm Card Fund will live immediately the fee is paid.

    You should stop using such word scammer to me because of if i am a scammer i am not sure that i will scamme you with $125 dollars, what is $125 dollars to start with?The only problem now is that i dont have money with me now i could have paid every thing now for you to receive your Atm Card and then know who i am and also know that i am a man of my word.

    So the only reason why i did not paid for it the time i was paying all the fees is that their refuse that day,before i had a problem that take away my money and now you have to make sure that you contact the courier immediately with the small fee that is the only fee you are advise to send to them.

    Waiting to received a good response from you soon next.

    Mr RBL ENE

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2010, at 8:40 AM, lemoneater wrote:

    Nick, You should write a multidisciplinary doctoral thesis on the Socio-Economic Ramifications of the Nigerian Scam. With 90 years of history it deserves academic consideration.

  • Report this Comment On November 10, 2010, at 9:06 AM, TMFPeterV wrote:

    A brilliant story on "This American Life" about people trying to get back at these scammers:

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/363/e...

    "Act One. Hanging In Chad.

    Three guys who go by the names Professor So and So, Jojobean and YeaWhatever spend part of each day running elaborate cons on Internet scammers. They consider themselves enforcers of justice, even after they send a man 1400 miles from home, to the least safe place they can bait him: The border of Darfur. The three self-made enforcers tell Ira their story. For more on what they did, along with photos, maps and phone recordings, go here. (29 minutes) "

  • Report this Comment On November 11, 2010, at 12:05 PM, loangolfer wrote:

    Got this today....

    Hello dear friend ,

    I never hear from you for long, Hope you are doing well together with your family? Well, i write to let you know that i have made the necessary arrangement regarding the transfering of your total

    fund ($1.5 MILLION (USD) with DIAMOND BANK PLC BENIN REPUBLIC the best bank in Benin Republic , the total fund will be transfering to your account via bank to bank wire transfer so please with due respect please kindly contact the Diamond Bank Plc Benin for the immediate transfer. contact diamond bank with bellow information only and please demand for your transfer and the Diamond Bank will definitely serve you and serve you better untill your total fund arrive and reflect in to your oversea account. Contact the Diamond Bank Plc with your bank details and please be honest with the Diamond Bank and follow there instruction for our own good and for the betterment of the special transfer.

    Directore Name :: Rev Dr Kenndy Williams

    Bank Contact Email address :( diamondbank.beninplc4@gmail.com )

    Bnak Tell : 00229-98 -845-844

    Contact Diamond Bank Plc with above information and email me back and also let me know when they start the transfer procedure because they will start serving you immediately you contact them because i have made all the needed arrangement. Please be honest with the bank and follow there instruction only, This the time to finalize the transaction so you will have you fund.

    Email me back once you contact the right bank, Feed me back.

    Besr Regard

    Prof Philips Weah,

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2010, at 2:48 AM, SPARTANBURG wrote:

    But all these scams work on certain types of people. I have a friend that lost over 80.000 Euro on this Nigerian scam. No matter what I told her she just couldn't resist the temptation to follow through with these people. She even flew to Nigeria where she is lucky to have come back with her life. Unbelievable yet so truly real!

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2010, at 2:59 AM, rsenor wrote:

    The painted breast is absolutely the most briliant thing I've read in as long as I've been alive.

  • Report this Comment On November 12, 2010, at 6:13 PM, cbak wrote:

    There are a mega number of scammers out there now. Big and small. Many are much more sophisticated with very professional internet sites. I recently got hit by one. I send off for a $5.00 sample of a health care product advertised on the internet providing my Visa No. I was sent a billing for 99.00 dollars. ( I had to go to an email site to get the actual amount after a very vague e-mail confirmation was received) I called the phone no. provided (USA) immediately and was informed I could not cancel the order except on the internet site. Was this long distance call also a scam to get me to pay phone fees?? There was a long holding period before the phone was answered and a rude reply when I insisted I did not want this product. I also found out I could not send the product back without a special number also only provided on the internet site. Needless to say I was unable to access anything that provided this on the site. My biggest shock came when I called Visa to not pay for this billing and was told that they had set up their billings (for the benefit of their billers) so that even though I told them I was scammed and billed for something I did not want (a 60 day supply as well as a sample ) they were still going to pay out the $99.00 which had NOT YET been billed to my account!!!!!!!! and I could do nothing to stop it.!!! Although the hit was small I get extremely angry whenever I think of this. I agree that an article on the types of scams around would be interesting and might save someone some embarassment.

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2010, at 1:54 PM, PeyDaFool wrote:

    Not to be sexist here, but after reading the above comments from readers, it appears these Nigerian scams work particularly well on women while men view them as an opportunity to waste a Nigerian scam artist's time.

    This theory also holds, as my mother was nearly convinced by one of these emails until my dad grabbed the keyboard and started writing hilarious requests back to Nigeria.

    Hilarious article. I'd like to see more of these types of articles on the MF.

  • Report this Comment On November 13, 2010, at 3:49 PM, Mallard100 wrote:

    This guy is the 'Scambuster King' and above all after you have read the way in which he treats them for after all they are lets face it predatory scum and need teaching a lesson. I guarantee you will be very amused indeed.

    http://www.scambuster419.co.uk/

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2010, at 12:13 PM, KwizatzHaderach wrote:

    I once played along with one of these for fun. I had won the "international email lottery," or something like that. The guy sent me an itemized list of what I would have to pay for. It involved a shipping charge of 125 "US Pounds Sterling" for the winnings certificate. I was like, "Do you chisel the certificate in stone?"

  • Report this Comment On November 16, 2010, at 7:39 PM, philkek wrote:

    Thanks MF and fellow fools. This writing is both entertaining and informative about CROOKS everywhere. Any size, any shape, any color, any place. They ALL want your foolish money. To hell with all those crooks. MF and better Business Bureau warns all fools to investigate BEFORE you invest. I have deleted several email offers of this kind of easy money and am better off for saying NO. Fool on for profits.

  • Report this Comment On August 14, 2013, at 3:02 AM, jimmyjohn89101 wrote:

    One of the most elaborate scam sites I've seen (and admittedly almost fell for) is poetry.com. Basically you submit your poem, their "experts" review your poem, and get back to you with their decision of whether or not it is worthy of publishing. Problem is, the system is automated. Everyone who submits a poem is praised as a great poet and of course you have to pay membership and publishing fees :\ There are also conferences that you can attend where you can network with fellow "poets" (for a modest fee, of course).

    There's actually an entertaining poem somewhere on the Web where a scam buster wrote a poem about how poetry.com is a scam, and received a letter like everyone else praising him for his poetic abilities lol

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