Nigerian Advance Fee Scams Become Only Slightly More Plausible

Good news, everyone! The advance fee fraud scammers of Nigeria have decided to stop fussing with old-fashioned checks and wire transfers, and have switched to an advanced new technology. They’re called “ATM cards.” Shiny!

Alex received this message from a spammer purporting to be from the “Central Bank of Nigeria,” promising him a $2.8 million in exchange for…well, nobody really knows what he’s been hired to do.

From: Mr Dave Walker
Date: Sun, May 24, 2009 at 5:51 PM
Subject: Your Atm Debit card Payment

The Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), working in relationship with HSBC
London has concluded to issue you a VISA CARD with which you can access
your contract amount 2.8 million USD This card center will send you an ATM
card which you will use to withdraw your money in any ATM machine in any
part of the world, but the maximum is FIVE Thousand Five Hundred United
States Dollars($5,500) per day. So if you like to receive your fund in this
way, please let us know by contacting the ATM payment department and also
send the following information as listed below:Contact Mr Dave Walker at with the below details for claims.

1. Full name
2. Phone and fax number
3. Address were you want them to send the ATM card to (p.o box not
4. Age
5. occupation
6. Nationality
7. country of residence

Best Regards.
Mr. Dave Walker

I guess this is a little more plausible than the normal Nigerian fraud script involving a huge wire transfer that needs to get out of the country ASAP. Thanks, Mr. Dave Walker. Withdrawing $5K per day from an imaginary ATM card sounds like a much better way to make a living than writing. I’ll spend the proceeds on the micropony with a glittering pink mane that I’ve had my eye on.

(Photo: selmer)


Edit Your Comment

  1. ForrestWhitakersLazyEye says:

    hahaha, Mr. Dave.

  2. StanislausBabalistic says:

    So I know people can sometimes scam scammers for “shipping costs” and other such nonsense. Any chance these cards work and then get deactivated after the first use? I would like $5,500 please.

  3. B1663R says:

    well, you can’t blame for trying.

    do those email sniffing bots come around this site that much?

  4. bobpence says:

    I’m a little concerned about the emphasis on a physical address, along with occupation (e.g. what time are you not at home). Maybe these scammers are looking to take their funds a little more directly.

    • xsmasherx says:

      @bobpence: Once you twig to the scam, they can threaten you – “We know where you live, we know where you work, don’t go to the police.”

      They likely have nothing to back up the threat – no local accomplice – but it could still be intimidating. They could also use that info to assist in identity theft.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        @xsmasherx: Depends on where they are. If you’re in a city with a sizable Nigerian population, they could call in a favor and have someone pop in to pay you a visit. There’s a story of a scambaiter who sent a fax to a scammer from his work fax. They tracked down the number and stopped by asking for his bait character, not him. So it is likely. But strongarming on foreign soil isn’t really their style. Strongarming victims in Lagos? Par for the course.

  5. EdnaLegume says:

    I typically find myself much more trusting of men named ‘Dave’. I’d likely become a victim of this fraud.

  6. bagumpity says:

    Where’s the hitch? If it’s a debit card against an account funded by someone else, that sounds like “free monies.”

    Which is why these sorts of things are so nefarious, I suppose. Still, I’d like to see where the “gotcha” comes in so I can tell my elderly relatives how to avoid the scam.

    • Mikael Vejdemo Johansson says:

      @bagumpity: My guess is that once you start feeding them information they
      1) Won’t ever actually ship you a card
      2) Will start coming up with things to do before the card may be issued – which would connect up with other aspects of the fraud they’re working; I can see a wire fraud popping up here, or hidden fees that never lead to anything et.c.
      3) May well start using the information you provide them with – see @bobpence above.

    • bl8675309 says:

      The UPS store offers mail boxes that write out as an actual address, use that with one of those automated breakup telephone numbers and see what happens next. I’d also like to see the “gotcha” part @bagumpity:

    • xsmasherx says:

      @bagumpity: It’s still advance fee fraud. “We just need to to send $100 by Western Union for the account processing fee.”

      Spending $100 to get $5000 is a good deal, right?

    • Shoelace says:

      @bagumpity: Tell your elderly relatives that if someone is informing them about their approved contract amount of 2.8 million US dollars from a non-US bank, and they don’t know anything about it, then they have NOT gotten lucky and should ignore it. Sending personal info will probably result in requests for more personal/financial info and/or payment of advance ‘fees’. Remind them what threats, spending something for nothing, and identity theft mean.

    • mariospants says:

      @bagumpity: It IS a little confusing as to how they’d make money with this. Up until recently, they’ve been sending checks directly to “victims”, have them cash the checks then ask them to send back the difference. This kind of activity obviously has many possible opportunities for things to go wrong, most notably that a lot of people will just try to pocket the difference anyway (victims these days, just can’t trust ’em) so I assume this is an attempt to bypass this trusting relationship entirely.

      Once they have enough information, they can open an account in the vic’s name, deposite whatever fake checks and then start withdrawing like mad.

      Or maybe they ask the vic to drop $5k into the account “to open it and corroborate your identity and pay taxes” etc.

      Or maybe they need the vic to deposit the fake checks for them?

      • bhowie4 says:

        What you will see happening is the victim getting an actual “chip and PIN” cash card with a small amount on it. The victim is told there is more money than God on the card but they can’t get the PIN to access it until they pay the processing fee.

        The victim may get the PIN but the amount on the card won’t be near what they paid in processing fees.

      • xsmasherx says:

        @mariospants: The “fake cashier’s check” scam is actually the NEWER variant of fraud from Nigeria. “419 fraud” used to mean specifically advance fee fraud – where they promise you a fortune in oil money / gold / lottery winning, and then use you greed to try and wheedle cash out of you before your prize can be delivered.

        That’s the “Nigerian scam”, and before that it was known as the “Spanish prisoner” scam.

    • EinhornIsAMan! says:

      @bagumpity: The hardest thing to do would be to tell my diabolical family members not to scambait. I remember reading here about the guy who borrowed tons of money from friends and family and lost it all on a scheme, in addition to all his friends. Unless you’re old and cognitively slowed, or mentally challenged, I really don’t see any excuse for falling for one of these schemes. I won’t go so far as to say you deserve what happens to you, but I’ll come close.

  7. I Love New Jersey says:

    1. Santos L Halper
    2. (513) 555-3726
    3. 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield, NT 49007
    4. 102
    5. Butt Doctor
    6. American
    7. USA

  8. rpm773 says:

    I suppose there are still people falling for this, and nothing against them, but these scams are so transparent now that they’re almost cute in their quaintness.

    Poor Nigeria. It isn’t just scam capital of the world anymore. It’s ridiculously obvious scam capital of the world.

  9. Trick says:

    Links the card to a stolen account, the dupe takes money out of a ATM then has to send the majority to the scammers?

    The dupe is busted for taking stolen money?

    • xsmasherx says:

      @Trick: No, there is no ATM card. It’s a variation on the “foreign lottery” scam – once they get a bite, they’re going to ask you to send them a “preocessing fee” by Western Union.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        @xsmasherx: I’m thinking Trick has the angle. It seems like a variation of a check cashing scam. ATM cards aren’t hard to fake, especially for an enterprising gang with access to resources; it wouldn’t be hard for them to not only steal the CC info, but also to acquire a card encoder and imprinter. Not that they wouldn’t also ask you for a hefty processing fee as well. I’m also thinking that even though they may not be asking you to send them any of that money initially, once you’ve made a withdrawal or two, you’ll suddenly get hit up with either a new scam, or they’ll “notice a mistake,” and ask for the money back. Which you can conveniently wire to them instead of depositing it back into the account.

  10. Coles_Law says:

    They could actually put $2.8 million on a Visa gift card, and it would all be eaten up by fees inside of a month

  11. wardawg says:

    Spammers are getting a lot more creative these days, and they keep sending these emails out. Millions of them! Makes you wonder if there really is a Nigerian princess depserate for a prince to claim her fortune. Have we been ignoring her all this time?


  12. Jason Weckerly says:

    I think this site was mentioned here before, but it gives a pretty good insight on how these advance fee scams work:


  13. mariospants says:

    Maybe they ask the vic to set up a checking account, verify the details with them, send them some fake checks and drain at their leisure?

  14. brandymb says:

    The word NIGERIA should be the flag…

  15. jwissick says:

    THere is nothing new here. I have been seeing these regularly for 3 years or more.

  16. AstroPig7 says:

    Did anyone else notice that in the original version of the article photo (and its counterparts), the card numbers are clearly visible, as well as the cardholder name?

  17. SacraBos says:

    I get these things in e-mail all the time. Even if you don’t know what the catch is, there is ALWAYS a catch.

    Of course, that’s true of most credit card offers, too. And we complain that the Nigerians are scammers…

  18. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    1. Mark Fuller Buns
    2. 777-FILM
    3. 420 Mommas House Road, NY, NY. 10911
    4. 21
    5. Unemployed
    6. Ameican/Chinese/Puerto Rican
    7. U.S. Of mofo A, Baby

  19. DWalk says:

    Hey, it’s not a scam. Just write to me and I’ll send you your card.

    Dave Walker aka DWalk