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West Africa or Nigerian Letter Scam

A supposedly official person promises a huge financial payout—if you pay some fees.

How it works

In a typical letter scam, you receive an email, fax, or letter from someone posing as a high-ranking government official from a developing country. It’s usually marked "urgent" or "in strictest confidence." The sender will tell you they have millions of dollars in a bank account that they can’t access without your help. In return, you are promised a portion of the funds, usually 20 per cent. All you have to do is deposit a sum of money as a “processing fee,” and fax your bank account information. Once they have your fee and banking information, the scam artists will drain your bank account.

How to protect yourself

If it sounds too good to be true, it is. If you receive a message like this, don't reply, don’t click on any links, and immediately delete it.

How to report it

If you suspect you are a victim of a letter scam, or attempted letter scam, complete the FCNB Submit a Complaint form, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and your local police or RCMP.

FCNB administers and enforces legislation in the mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, cooperatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. If your complaint relates to an area outside of FCNB’s regulated areas, we may refer you to the appropriate reporting agency or organization.