Fraudulent Business Deals - How to Recognize the Scams and What to Do

False Business Proposal Email Scams (Nigerian 419 Scams) - Sample Emails - How to Recognize Them and How to Report Them

The Advance Fee Fraud (AFF) email is also known as "419" after the section of the Nigerian penal law that deals with this type of fraud. It takes many forms, from the typical "Barrister" who represents a bank from a "deceased" businessman or  government official to requests for a "local company representative in your country" to "receive payments" to fake grants and wealthy religious widows who just "need your help, in Jesus' name"

Below are links to our pages with many, many actual examples of these fake business scams from Nigeria.  A rule of thumb: "It if is from Nigeria, it MUST be a scam" .  Nigeria ought to use a new slogan for their tourist office: "Nigeria: Land of Scams, Thieves and Scumbags - Don't come, just let us steal your money!"  But now there are plenty originating in the Far East and other areas.

How to Recognize a Money Transfer Scam or Fraudulent Business Deal

Let's look at some actual emails people received and see how we can spot that they are scams. In general, notice the awesome amount of misspellings, poor grammar and run-on sentences.  Even if they weren't scams, would you go into business with someone who writes like that?

Sample Scam Emails by Theme

See this page for a detail explanation of how the scams work, step-by-step!

How to Report a Fraudulent Business Proposal

In the United States contact:

U.S. Secret Service
Financial Crimes Division
1800 G Street, NW
Room 942
Washington, DC 20223

Phone: (202) 4355850

Fax: (202) 4355031

Or contact the local U.S. Secret Service Field Office.


Contact the Foreign Commercial Service (FSC) at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If there is no FCS office, contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the Consular Section or the Regional Security Office.

For a comprehensive list of national and international agencies to report scams, see this page.



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