- The art of the Con
Touch Of Nigeria
Nigerianâ€™s are also adept at real estate scams,
charity swindles, will scams, fraudulent order swindles, crude oil rip-offs,
advance fee cons, letterhead swindles, death threat cons, Nigerian tax
scams, U.S. visa scams and sample swindles, to name just a few of the
rip-offs the fertile minds of the Nigerians have thought up. Recovery
is literally unheard of, and the scams continue unabated in spite of the
entry of the U. S. Secret Service Financial Crimes Division into the investigations.
The problem for Americans has become so severe that the Department of
Commerce has suspended distribution of Commercial News USA in Nigeria
to withhold potential contact information on American firms from swindlers.
in Nigeria rose in the mid-1990s as a result of unemployment, economic
decline, and social inequality, which are abetted by inefficient and corrupt
police and customs forces. More than half of all offenses are thefts,
burglaries, and break-ins, although armed robberies are also prominent.
Nigeria is a major conduit for drugs moving from Asia and Latin America
to markets in Europe and North America. Large-scale Nigerian fraud rings
have targeted business people in other parts of the world. The business
people are invited to help transfer (nonexistent) large sums of money
out of Nigeria, with the promise of a share of the transferred money.
Advance fees are requested to expedite this transfer, but the advanced
money routinely disappears. Although there have been periodic campaigns
to root out corrupt politicians and attack crime, they have had little
Nigeria, April 7, 2000, the Department of State warns U.S.
citizens of the dangers of travel to Nigeria. Nigeria has limited tourist
facilities and conditions pose considerable risks to travelers:
Violent crime, committed by ordinary criminals,
as well as by persons in police and military uniforms, can occur throughout
the country. Kidnapping for ransom of persons associated with the petroleum
sector, including U.S. citizens, remains common in the Niger Delta area.
Use of public transportation throughout Nigeria
is dangerous and should be avoided. Taxis pose risks because of the possibility
of fraudulent or criminal operators and poorly maintained vehicles. Most
Nigerian airlines have aging fleets, and there are valid concerns that
maintenance and operational procedures may be inadequate to ensure passenger
Nigerian-based business, charity and other
scams target foreigners worldwide and pose a danger of financial loss.
Recipients pursuing such fraudulent offers risk physical harm if they
come to Nigeria. Persons contemplating business deals in Nigeria are
strongly urged to check with the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S.
Department of State before providing any information or making any financial
commitments. No one should provide personal financial or account information
to unknown parties. An invitation to enter Nigeria without a visa is
normally indicative of illegal activity. Under no circumstances should
U.S. citizens travel to Nigeria without a valid visa. Furthermore, the
ability of U.S. Embassy officers to extricate U.S. citizens from unlawful
business deals and their consequences is extremely limited.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, where numerous fraudulent transactions
allegedly are finalized with senior bureaucratic participation, purchased
full page ads in a number of newspapers throughout the world and said,
among other things, when referring to mail fraud:
“Unfortunately, the scam has continued
unabated, even with increasing sophistication, because of the criminality,
avarice and greed of the so-called victims of the scam, who are also villains.
The bogus “business” proposals/deals which run into millions of US dollars
manifest fraudulent intentions which should ordinarily put any
responsible and law abiding person on inquiry. However, driven by fraudulent
tendency, greed and the urge to make quick and easy money at the expense
of Nigeria, many of the so-called victims have continued to ignore the
warning of the Central Bank of Nigeria, to the effect that such transactions
are bogus and fraudulent.” Central Bank of Nigeria, Samuel Ladoke Akintola
Way. New York Daily News, September 4, 1997.
Naturally, when you have been caught “red
handed” with your hand in the cookie jar, there is nowhere to turn but
to blame the victim. Numerous lawsuits filed in the United States have
claimed that the Central Bank of Nigeria was an active participant in
these frauds and that without their total cooperation and endorsement,
they could not take place. High officials of the Bank appear at closings,
which have taken place within the confines of the Central Bank itself,
giving the transaction credibility that it would not otherwise be able
Great works never go unnoticed and it wasnâ€™t long before e-mails
were coming out of Afghanistan purportedly from Bradon Curtis a “Special
Forces Commando”, whatever that may be. According to the e-mail, he had
stumbled upon $36 million in Taliban drug money while on a mission. When
he ran across it he was some distance from his comrades so no one saw
what he had uncovered. Now, this poor soul was having trouble getting
the money out of the country.
Bradon is asking the readers assistance in
this substantive problem and in exchange for this help he will share a
substantial amount of this drug money. While this sound a little much
to believe, according to the FBI, over 2,600 people in the United States
in 2001 alone were suckered in by this ploy. The intended victim however
obligated to pay advanced legal fees, transportation charges, taxes and
bribes. Naturally the scheme ends with the victim losing whatever he put
up. The newest twist on the Nigerian theme is the money that a construction
worker found in the wreckage of the World Trade Center. All of these scams
get their share of victims with most of these losers going uncounted because
these people either believe that they were engaging in a financing an
illegal operation (i.e. moving drug money or stealing money belonging
to others). Well, we canâ€™t stay they donâ€™t deserve it and we would think
that they were criminally stupid to get involved in the first place.