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Ask the Patriarch 23
The Nigerian Banking Scam

A discussion has been opened on this Question & Answer. To contribute your thoughts to this exchange, please use the Contact form.

Note: I publish this and my response here for the information of those who have never seen one of the Nigerian Banking scam e-mails Incredibly, variations of this scam have relieved suckers of billions of dollars over the years. It's not new. Earlier versions went to selected individuals by postal services (remember them?) but now the internet has allowed everyone to have the opportunity to get scammed. This version has religious overtones which allowed me to compose a reasonably relevant reply.

Update: I received a new version of this scam to start off 2004. Again, it targets Christians. Why do these scammers think Christians, in particular, would welcome the opportunity to accept money stolen from people in the world's poorest continent? There must be a logical reason.... (see the second item in discussion for validation of this thought.)

For more information on this scam, and what to do it you receive such an e-mail (if you want to do more than just trashing it,) check out the 419 Coalition Website

Good day and Compliments,

I am writing this letter in confidence believing that if it is the wish of God for you to help me and my family, God almighty will bless and reward you abundantly. My family and I are true Christians and worship's God truthfully. I got your contact through Internet during my research on some one who could help us.

I am a female student from University of Nigeria, Lagos. I am 28 yrs old. I'd like any person who can be caring, loving and home oriented. I will love to have a long-term relationship with you and to know more about you. I would like to build up a solid foundation with you in time coming if you can be able to help me in this transaction.

Well, my fathers died earlier two months ago and left my mother I and my junior brother behind. He was a king, which our town citizens titled him before his death. I was a Princess to him and I and my brother are the only people who can take Care of his wealth now because my mother is not literate enough to know all my father's wealth behind.

He left up to USD 27, 350, 000.00 dollars (TWENTY SEVEN MILLION, THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND US DOLLARS) with a security company, and I don't know how and what I will do to invest this money somewhere in abroad, so that my father's kindred will not take over what belongs to my father and our family, which they were planning to do without my present because I am a female as stated by our culture in the town. That is why I felt happy when I saw your contact which I strongly believe that by the grace of God, you will help me secure and invest this money. I thereby need your help in bringing the box contaning the money out from the security company, based on your reply I will furnish you with more details on how we can proceed.

I am ready to pay 10% of the total amount to you if you help us in securing this money and another 10% interest of Annual Income to you, for handling this business for us, which you will strongly have absolute control over.

If you can handle this project sincerely and also willing to assist me in lifting this fund, kindly reach me and I will let you know the next step to take towards actualizing this transaction as quickly as possible.

Please, note that this transaction is 100% risk free. I look forward hearing from you soonest.

Yours sincerely,

Miss Princess

The Patriarch replies:

Dear Princess:

Thank you so much for your message.

I am pleased you told me you are a Christian and that you are writing with your God's support. This indicates you only want Christians to reply and that non-believers such as me are not the target of your message.

But I would like to be clear on what is going on. As I understand it, your Christian father, the king placed a large amount of money in a strongbox which is held by a security company. One wonders where this money came from, and the necessity to keep it as cash rather than invested. The logical conclusion is that it was stolen, probably stolen by this Christian king from his Christian subjects.

And now, your Christian relatives feel entitled to this stolen money, as do you. Apparently you are offering other Christians a share of this stolen money in return for your assistance in recovering it for you. And you expect at least some Christians to jump at the opportunity to share in this ill-gotten wealth.

Once these Christians show an interest in this shady deal, you are planning to asking them to provide their banking details to facilitate the transfer of these stolen funds. However, your real plan is to use this information to grab their financial assets. Given their willingness to participate in this, there is some rough justice I suppose.

I'll take a pass on the deal. As you should have determined in your purported internet search, I am most militantly not a Christian. But perhaps you are right in considering Christians may be susceptible to sharing stolen money.