Nigerian E-Mail Scammers Get Creative: The Libyan Passport Episode

I’ve been on the receiving end of Nigerian E-mail scams for as long as I’ve been active on Internet e-mail (Since about 1994 or so). But the last one I just received (which has landed on my work inbox) definitely takes the prize for creativity.

The time-worn story of the African Finance Minister seeking assistance to open a bank account has been replaced by the fanciful tale of a Libyan refugee on the lam for aiding the Gadaffi regime. And to add a touch of realism to the take, they have spiced it up by attaching a “scanned image” of the Libyan passport of the unfortunate soul.

Here’s the exact text of this letter:

Dear Sir,

Assalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

Look into this email. You will find copy of my passport which I attached together with this mail so that you will see my face. I am a typical Muslim woman. I need your help and your advice. Can you find for me a superior Businessman in your area who can supply me a business bank account that can contain $50,000,000.00? It is very very much urgent.

I was Aide to late President Muammar Gaddafi. I am not in Libya ever since trouble started because all the officials that served under the regime of late President Muammar Gaddafi ran away from Libya.

I stay somewhere in Africa. Please do not be afraid. I cannot put you into trouble. I am a careful person. I need your quick reply. I will give you more confidential details as soon as I receive your positive reply. You can write me in Arabic if you can understand Arabic. And please forward your reply to only these two email addresses.

Yours sincerely,

Haniya Abdul Aziz

And here’s the graphic attached to the e-mail:


There truly is “a sucker born every minute” as P.T. Barnum once famously said. The Nigerian e-mail scam industry has been raking it in for about 20 years now and shows no signs of being in decline.

Things are evidently “more fun in Nigeria.”

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