Name
Nigerian Letter Scam

Aka
Nigerian Letter Scam, Spanish Prisoner, 419 Scam,

Crew
One person who is a part of a larger organised crime syndicate.

Victims
Email receipiants

The Scam
This a variation of advance fee fraud. The con artist (or "Guyman) approaches the victim ("Mugu") telling him that he has a large sum of money that he wishes to give him. Before the victim can obtain the money, he must pay an esculating series of fees and charges. 40-50% of these scams originate from organised crime syndicates in Nigeria.

Variations
The variations of the scam are endless and thanks to its prevelance on the internet. The con artist will esculate the money he requires from the victim as each scam is succesful. For example, he may ask for $85 for bank fees, then a $500 transfer fee, then $3000 for bribes etc.

Ways of contacting the victim
  • Originally, the Spanish Prisoner was a one on one scam performed on person of wealth.
  • In the 1970s and 80's the advent of telex and fax allowed scammers to send hundreds of letters for a few dollars.
  • In the 1990's the rise of email allows con artists to send millions of emails for almost no cost.

Reasons for the con artist to give away the money
  • He has stolen it from a corrupt government/company and needs to get it out his home country.
  • The victim has won a lottery.
  • The victim is the receipiant of an inheritance.
  • The con artist wants to give the money to charity but is unable to do this. He trusts the victim to do this.
  • The con artists needs the victim's help to convert currency.

Reasons why people believe
  • The con artist drops the names of countries, world leaders and companies that are in the news. (e.g. "I have money stuck in Iraq")
  • The con artist praises the person as being of good reputation.
  • The money involved is in the millions.
  • The character created by the scammer is highly detailed.
  • The con artists 'flashes the victim's account' making it appear as if there is large amount of money in there. This money disappears quickly when the deposit cheque is declined.

Fees the victim must pay
  • Transfer fees
  • Account fees
  • Lawyers fees
  • Accountant fees
  • Bribes for government officials
  • Lottery taxes
  • Airfares for con artists to deliver money.
  • The cost of removing diplomatic ink from currency. The ink is used to mark money during transport. It costs thousands to remove.

Scambaiting
Many potential victims of this scam enjoy stringing the con artist along, convincing them that they will send money very soon but first they need the con artist to do something for them! This include posing for silly photos and even sending money! The con artists get conned. 419 Eater is a great source of this scams

Revenge
Victims of this scam who seek revenge or a return on their money are often murdered, kidnapped, assaulted or robbed when they travel to the country where the scam is based.

Take
The con artist usually begins by requesting $50-$100 for account fees. He soon askes for hundreds more, then thousands, the hundreds of thousands. People have lost $300,000 to $400,000 on this scam.

Keywords
Long con - internet

Created by Nicholas J. Johnson
Australia's Honest Con Man
www.conman.com.au