Unsolicited emails

The website regularly receives unwanted ‘spam’ emails and most are deleted without thought, but there are a few that attempt to extort money from people and below are a few examples. The generic term for these emails is a West African 419 scam, after the internal Nigerian laws covering this area. Despite this name, most scams nowadays originate from the former Soviet Union or from the Far East. Some are vaguely amusing in the way that they portray good decent people who had been callously swindled out of a extremely large amount of money, usually involving a dramatic death; car accident, assassination etc. They all promise the chance to make a lot of money from apparently uneducated people (note the deliberate use of spelling mistakes, poor punctuation etc.). Such money, of course, never materialises.

A small selection are copied below for your amusement, please do NOT respond to them!

1) From nelsonkali@******.com

Naturally this letter will come to you as a surprise since we do not know each other, please permit me however to introduce myself. I am Nelson Kofi Ali, a staff of the Ministry of Finance and Economic planning here in Ghana. At the risk of boasting, I wish you to understand that I am a top personal aid to the Minister and therefore, I am privy to several pieces of information. This aside, I am the secretary to the Contract payment committee. Subsequent upon the recent debt relief granted by the G8 Nations to the Republic of Ghana, the Government under the leadership of his Excellency, President John A. Kufour, has decided to pay off all the accumulated back-log of contract debts owed to both local and foreign contractors.

However, some of these contract debts span from the regime of his excellency, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah down to the PNDC government of Flt. Lt. John J. Rawlings and to his NDC government days even to the first tenure of President Kufour. To this effect, some of the contractors can no longer be traced as they have tried severally to receive their payment without success. Obviously, some may have died.

The proposal: I wish to implore you to come in as our partner to claim the sum of $45 Million United States Dollars which is payment due some contractors who built the Akosombo Hydro-electric dam. The contract was divided in 3 phases. The civil contractors, the water engineers and the electrical engineering companies. I understand that you may not know anything about this subject and you may not even be conversant with the procedure for building a dam. But do not worry as we have covered all the bases. All we need to do is apply for an initial payment of $15 Million United States Dollars for the first phase of the contract. As soon as this is successfully transferred to your account, we will apply for the other balance. You do not need to worry about the original contractors. This has already been taken care of. We removed some of the files when we took them for review. All we have to do is replace them with your company details. As soon as this is done, we shall approve your file for immediate payment. Once again, do not worry about this, it will be approved.

We have estimated that it will take between 10 and 14 working days to complete this project. Should you wish to participate, please contact me. You may be worried about the legitimacy of this, you may also be worried about if it were found out. The answer is do not worry, everything has been carefully thought out and planned. Should you have any questions of whatever nature, please do not hesitate to ask me. By the way, you may be worried as well, that this is a scam. There is no need for you to worry. Upon request, I can obtain and send to you, the official gazette approving the loan payment. We do sincerely hope to work this out with you.

As regards what?s in it for you, we propose a sharing ratio of 70:30. 70% for us and 30% for you. If you have any problems with this, please note that we are open to negotiations so long as they are reasonable. Do accept our heart felt good wishes as I look forward to your response.

I am with very kind regards,

2) From franciskwaku09@*******.cz

I am Mr. Francis Kwaku contacting you in regards to a business deal concerning money transfer from a deceased account. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that all will be well because I have all it will take us to make it.

PROPOSITION I discovered an abandoned sum of money in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customers who died along with his entire family. Since his death, none of his Family or relations has come forward to lay claims to this money as the heir. The cannot release the fund from his account unless someone applies for claim as the relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines. Upon this discovery, I now seek your permission to have you stand as a relation to the deceased as all documentations will be carefully worked out by us for the fund to be released in your favour as the beneficiary’s relation. It may interest you to note that I have secured from the probate an order of mandamus to locate any of deceased beneficiaries. Please acknowledge the receipt of this message in acceptance of deal. I only need your mobile phone number and your name.

These requirements will enable me file a letter of claim to the appropriaten departments for necessary approvals in your favour before the transfer can be made. We are going to share the total sum on final conclusion of this project, and I will like to invest in your country.If this proposal is acceptable by you, do not take undue advantage of the trust i have bestowed in you, I await your reply mail.

Regards, Mr. Francis Kwaku

N:B.You should understant that this is a business deal so you and I need to be careful.

3) From mrs.saviourtoya@*****.fr
Dear Friend,

I am Mrs.Saviour Toya from Ivory Coast. I am a widow being that I lost my husband a couple of some years ago. My husband was a serving director of the Cocoa exporting board until his death . He was assassinated  2002 by the rebels following the political uprising.Before his death he had a huge sum of money up to the tune of $9 Million dollars that he deposited in one of the banks here in Côte d’Ivoire which he made my son Micheal Toya as the next of kin to the money.

I want you to do me a favour to receive this funds to a safe account in your country or any safer place as the beneficiary so that i will come over to your country with my only son.

I have plans to do investment in your country, like real estate and industrial production. This is my reason for writing to you. Please if you are willing to assist me and my only son, indicate your interest in replying soonest i will ofer you 20% of the total money.

Thanks and best regards .
Mrs. Saviour Toya and Son