Spam Fraud (Nigerian Scam)

A Corporate Law Consultant or Practicing Company Secretary always subscribe for all kind of news alert and updates from regulatory authorities. Reserve Bank of India is one of the most fatal subscriptions. Oh no! They not send us virus but all fraudsters love to be their look – like.

Even though, I have all regular E – mail ids of Reserve Bank of India in my contact list. Therefore, I am able to delete all suspicious mail looking similar to that of Reserve Bank of India. Last year, I receive a mail form one such mail and opened. This was looking spam as they are asking some details which are not usually asked by authorities through E – mail but through Public Announcement using all media coverage.

I approached Reserve Bank of India through contact us link of their web – site. There was no scope of sharing much information there. I simply wrote, “I just received a spam main which claim RBI as sender. In case, you are willing to do inquiry about such mails, I may forward it to you. Please advise me.

I received this mail in its response:

Dear Sir,

RBI warning on phishing mail

The mail you have received is fictitious. The Reserve Bank of India never sends such mails and does not receive or keep funds for any individuals. To make people aware of such fraudulent cases, we have uploaded our press releases, available as scrolling lines on the home page of our website (<>) in this regard.
You may please inform the local police immediately and approach the nodal agency as enlisted in the RBI press release “Complaint to Local Police / Cyber Crime Authorities against Fictitious Offers of Money from Abroad ” available at the link for investigation.

With Regards

Department of Communication
Reserve Bank of India
Central Office Building
Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg
Mumbai 400 001


Now, I studied this mail and all links provided therein. This prompts me to send mail to Economic Offence Wing of Delhi Police. I simply forward mail of Reserve Bank of India to them with my note:

Dear Sir,

Please advise me if you need copy of that mail.

In its reply, I received an informative mail from Economic Offence Wing but from a personal E – mail ID of a police officer. I am reproducing this mail here:

Subject : An Advisory About Nigerian Scam (In reference to your e-mail/complaint.)


Dear Sir,

                       Kindly refer to your email dated 31/07/12 addressed to official mail id of Worthy DCP/EOW/Delhi. From the contents of your Email it appears that it was an attempt of Nigerian Scam. Therefore, you are advised not to respond to them, and be careful about them in future also. Some of the tricks they have used to befool people are as follows:

1. DIRTY MONEY…. A large sum of money has been treated with a special chemical substance making it unusable. However, another special (expensive and rare) chemical can be used to clean it…. if only you would front the money to buy the chemical; a healthy commission is waiting for you… but hurry, the chemists aren’t willing to make the chemical available in the market in course of time.

2. DEAD FOREIGNER…. A large sum of money has been left in a bank account by a visiting businessman in Nigeria, who tragically died in a car/plane wreck. Unfortunately, the lawyer/bank employee can find no heirs…. would you like a share in these funds by posing as the sole heir of the deceased’s estate? Of course, some lawyer fees and estate taxes will need to be paid for first… If you want your Share then hurry up, in a short time; the government will seize the funds and put them into their war fund!

3. OVER BILLED GOVERNMENT CONTRACT…. The National Petroleum Company (or another government agency) of Nigeria has been purposely and successfully over billed a large sum of money on a legitimate contract. Now all these fellows need is a helpful foreign company to make them dummy invoices so that the funds will be transferred. Wouldn’t a minor investment to get some paperwork pushed through the Nigerian government bureaucracy be worth the millions of dollars that your share will bring… but hurry, the contract needs to be billed within a short period of time, or the payment will lapse!

4. ILL GOTTEN GAINS…. A large sum of money was left to the wife/son/daughter of a Nigerian Royal/Dictator/Opposition Party Member who has since been ousted/assassinated. Sadly, there is no way to safely get these funds out of the country without the help of an open-minded foreigner. Some minor out-pocket expenses will need to be paid, initially, of course, but imagine the rewards of having your share of the money… but hurry, the new government in power is trying to recover these funds!

5. FORTUNATE INVESTOR…. A wealthy (usually ex-royal, ex-government official) investor wants to invest in a large sum of money in a foreign country, but can’t attend to the business personally. Wouldn’t you care to do them the favor of overseeing the investment? Of course, some sort of formalities will need to be attended to first, after all, how can you be trusted with their millions without first having you meet them in Nigeria…. but hurry, this is a limited time offer, and the new government in power is closing in!

6. BELOW MARKET COMMODITIES….A fortunate Nigerian has gotten a large quantity of crude oil/gold/diamonds but cannot move them from their storage facility without the help of a foreigner investor. If you would only pay some “earnest money/fees/bribes” he will let you keep a very generous percentage of the commodities’ market value once they have been sold…. but hurry, time is of the essence, the people in charge of storing it are getting suspicious! 

7. LETTER OF CREDIT…. A Nigerian business places a relatively small (legitimate) order from your company, perhaps $1000 worth of goods. Shortly thereafter, another order is placed, for a slightly larger amount, again, paid in full. Suddenly, an urgent order and much larger is placed, but this one needs to be air freighted on the double! Your Nigerian partners have just received a lucrative government contract, and if this shipment arrives on time, it means many more large orders in the near future. Don’t worry about waiting until the bank draft clears… after all, the order is from our friends in Nigeria, and they have always made good their payments before… 

8. FAKE JOB OFFER….. A fake job would be offered to you and you would be asked to submit some sort of registration fee etc etc. in a particular bank account. All the details about the job would be manipulated very minutely and you would be lured or tempted to go for the job. And thus very guilefully you become a victim of of this modus operandi.

9. LOTTERY SCAM…. A SMS or e-mail would be sent to you mentioning there in that…. “ your mobile number so and so has won 750,000 GB pounds in the COCA COLA  award promo or a certain lottery”… and you would be asked to send your full details to certain e-mail address. As soon you provide your details to the e-mail, a SMS would come to your mobile that…. “ my name is——- from COCA COLA  lottery. I just arrive India from UK to deliver your prize money and you have to pay a certain amount for custom clearance etc.” and you are about to become a victim of LOTTERY SCAM.

10.  FAX O’ DEATH…. I had never heard of this one, but the U.S. State Department’s report on Nigerian Fraud (PDF file) has an actual reproduction (p.25) of one of these… Basically a wealthy executive gets a “pay or die” demand from a “professional assassinator organization”… hurry, if you don’t pay, or if you tell anyone else, you will be killed by our observers! I’d laugh if it weren’t so twisted? 

11.  THE HELPFUL POLICE OFFICIAL…. Another con is the re-victimization scheme. If at any point, the victim decides to walk away from the deal, an individual posing as a government or police ” task force official” will contact the victim and offer to “investigate” the scammers and attempt to recover the lost funds…of course, this sort of investigation requires the utmost privacy and discretion, and apparently that doesn’t come cheap in Nigeria… but hurry, you have to start this investigation as soon as possible, or else “they” will get away! Ironically, more often than not, the same group of scammers is responsible for the “re-vic” con, and it has also been documented that con men often resell the “walk-aways” to other groups of con artists that specialize in the re-vic scam.

Thanks to share the information with us.

S.I Sunil Kumar
Cyber Crime Cell
Delhi Pol

(The word “Pol” for Police was there in original mail)

This was very interesting that no one is interested to stop these crimes by action taken by authorities but all leaved for wisdom of citizens.

Yes, prevention is better than cure and before looking to our authorities, we may take more precautions. Take Care.


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