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Police warn residents about Nigerian e-mail scam

December 3, 2001 

MONTROSE — 'Tis the season for scams, according to the Montrose Police Department.

In the last two weeks, the MPD has received about a half-dozen complaints regarding an e-mail reportedly from a Nigerian national that allegedly aims to bilk local residents out of money, Montrose Police Chief Gary Mecham said.

One of the e-mails is from Dr. Umoh John, who claims to be a member of a contract review panel for the Nigerian government, Mecham said.

John claims that during Nigeria's previous administration, corrupt government officials set up companies and awarded themselves inflated contracts, Mecham said.

John says in the e-mail he is looking for an "overseas partner" in order to access $21.5 million in contract funds. John promises the e-mail recipient 20 percent of the funds if they provide bank account information, Mecham said.

Local residents risk losing a lot of money if they comply with the e-mail, Mecham said. "They should ignore the e-mail and not provide bank information," he said.

The e-mail is similar to another letter sent to Montrose businesses last year from a firm named Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.

That letter offered recipients 20 percent of $21.5 million from the sale of crude oil during the Gulf War.

The Nigerian letter scam has bilked millions of dollars from businesses in the United States in the last several years, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Suspicious letters or e-mails can be reported to the MPD at 252-5200.

by Scott Schwebke. Copyright © 2001 The Montrose Daily Press.

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