Small businesses are getting this SPAM from various Nigerians. The offers vary from $20 million to $46 million. Most of the SPAM comes through yahoo. It's an old scam that used direct mail before the Internet came along. Years ago, our government pressured the Nigerian government into "cracking down" on it.
Currently, the Department of Treasury has a task force that investigates such mattersafter the fact. They can't get your money back if you're so stupid as to send the Nigerians the "upfront" money.
The scam apparently works. What dumb business person would fall for such a proposition?
Here's the e-mail, complete with headers (such as they are). Spoofed.
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 11:24:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: Alhaji Musa Bello (firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: URGENT ASSISTANCE
ALHAJI MUSA BELLO.
Tel/Fax: 234 1 2882557
ATTN.: THE MANAGING DIRECTOR / CEO.
REQUEST FOR URGENT (CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP OF THE TRANSFER OF US $46,560,000.00 (FORTY SIX MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED AND SIXTY THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS ONLY).
I hope this letter will not embarrass you since we have not had any previous communication. I got your reference from the Nigeria Exports Promotion Council (NEPC) and went further to have it confirmed by your country’s trade department under private inquiry that is not related to my aim of writing you this letter.
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 $66,560,000.00 (Sixty-Six 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) last week. 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$46.560M (Forty-Six Million, Five Hundred and Sixty Thousand United States Dollars Only).
We are therefore seeking your assistance based on the balance amount of US$46.560M, 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 [right]. 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 telephone and fax numbers 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 firm in your country.
Yours truly, ALHAJI MUSA BELLO