The Nigerian or 419 Scam

a form of Advance Fee Fraud

Posted March 2002 / Updated September 13th 2004

Reports exist of people who have traveled to meet 419 scamsters being threatened or abducted. If you have lost money, involve the police, do not try to solve it yourself.

See Also: Lottery Scams | Operation Zero

Primarily conducted by Email, occasionally through the post
This scam panders to your optimism, by making you think your lucky day has come!
Originally conducted through the post, this scam is now largely carried out by email. An urgent message arrives soliciting your assistance in the transfer of large sums of money from Africa to safety in The West. While not all the letters come from Nigeria, the scam started there, hence the name. The term 419 stems from the part of Nigerian law used to deal with scamsters.

Those who have been taken in have usually been asked to deposit a sum of money in order to "check the transfer route" the money then simply disappears along with the scamster. Other people have been tricked into handing over their bank details and signature, and have found their account emptied. Others have traveled to meet the perpetrator and some of these have even been kidnapped! The British Police have expressed concern that this scam is run by organised criminals, many actually based in London. Nigerian investigators believe that the government in Nigeria is well aware of the situation but does not act as it is mainly perpetrated by Govt. workers and friends. It is estimated that this scam is one of the biggest in existence and is one of Nigeria's biggest sources of overseas currency!

While you may think no one would fall for this, thousands do, and will continue to do so unless you warn them!

Versions So Far Seen: NB: Also see: Lottery Scams

What should you do if you get this by email or in the post?

Report it! NCIS (National Crime Intelligence Service) are collecting information on this scam. Their Pages on this state that they do not need to be contacted unless you have actually lost money.

We have also received advice that letters or printouts of emails (including headers) can be handed in to your local police with a request that they are passed on to NCIS, London residents can forward emails to

You can register with Spam Cop and report all unsolicited email, the scamster may well lose his/her account if you do this, though this is only an inconvenience.

There is a detailed page on this scam at and this includes advice for citizens in countries outside the UK. For a more light hearted look at the problem try For solid precautionary advice on advance fee frauds visit

If you have been taken in and have lost money, please do not let your pride stop you from involving the police. The fact that many victims fail to report their losses is one of the biggest hurdles to law enforcement agencies fighting this scam.

One positive thing you can do is to copy the contents of this page, or at least a link to it and inform friends who you think might be targets for this scam.

Sample letter, received 26th March 2002

MR.lgwe emanuel
Tel:874 - 762864167 ( <<click link to see how many people are affrected!!)
Fax:874 - 762864168
This is my private email


(RE: TRANSFER OF ($ 126,000.000.00 USD}


Dear sir,

We want to transfer to overseas account ($ 126,000.000.00 USD) One hundred and twenty six million United States Dollars) from a Prime Bank in Africa, I want to ask you to quietly look for a reliable and honest person who will be capable and fit to provide either an existing bank account or to set up a new Bank a/c immediately to receive this money, even an empty a/c can serve to receive this money, as long asyou will remain honest to me till the end for this important business trusting in you and believing in God that you will never let me down either now or in future.

I am nobert lgwe emanuel,the Auditor General of one of the prime banks here South Africa, during the course of our auditing,I discovered a floating fund in an account opened in the bank in 1990 and since 1993 nobody has operated on this account again, after going through some old files in the records I discovered that the owner of the account died without a [heir] hence the money is floating and if I do not remit this money out urgently it will be forfeited for nothing. The owner of this account is Mr. Allan P.Seaman, a foreigner, and an industrialist, and he died, since 1993. and no other person knows about this account or any thing concerning it, the account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well that Allan P. Seaman until his death was the manager Diamond Safari [pty]. SA.

We will start the first transfer with twenty six million [$26,000.000] upon successful transaction without any disappoint from your side, we shall re-apply for the payment of the remaining rest amount to your account.

The amount involved is (USD 126 M) One hundred and twenty six million United States Dollars only. I want to first transfer $26,000.000 [Twenty six million United States Dollar] from this money into a safe foreigners account abroad before the rest, but I don't know any foreigner, I am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money can not be approved to a local person here, without valid international foreign passport, but can only be approved to any foreigner with valid international passport or drivers license and foreign a/c because the money is in US dollars and the former owner of the a/c Mr. Allan P. Seaman is a foreigner too, and the money can only be approved into a foreign a/c.

However, we will sign a binding agreement, to bind us together. I got your contact address from the Girl who operates my computer, I am revealing this to you with believe in God that you will never let me down in this business, you are the first and the only person that I am contacting for this business, so please reply urgently so that I will inform you the next step to take urgently. Send also your private telephone and fax number including the full details of the account to be used for the deposit.

I want us to meet face to face to build confidence and to sign a binding agreement that will bind us together before transferring the money to any account of your choice where the fund will be safe. Before we fly to your country for withdrawal, sharing and investments.

I need your full co-operation to make this work fine, Because the management is ready to approve this payment to any foreigner who has correct information of this account, which I will give to you, upon your positive response and once I am convinced that you are capable and will meet up with instruction of a key bank official who is deeply involved with me in this business. I need your strong assurance that you will never, never let me down. With my influence and the position of the bank official we can transfer this money to any foreigner's reliable account which you can provide with assurance that this money will be intact pending our physical arrival in your country for sharing. The bank official will destroy all documents of transaction immediately we receive this money leaving no trace to any place and to build confidence you can come immediately to discuss with me face to face after which I will make this remittance in your presence and three of us will fly to your country at least two days ahead of the money going into the account. I will apply for annual leave to get visa immediately I hear from you that you are ready to act and receive this fund in your account. I will use my position and influence to obtain all legal approvals for onward transfer of this money to your account with appropriate clearance from the relevant ministries and foreign exchange departments.

At the conclusion of this business, you will be given 35% of the total amount, 60% will be for me, while 5% will be for expenses both parties might have incurred during the process of transferring.

I look forward to your earliest reply through my email address
Yours truly

lgwe emanuel

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