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Inside Iowa State
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August 31, 2001

Watch for get-rich bank scam

by Debra Gibson
As if the federal tax refund wasn't enough of a summer bonus, now $7 million can be yours.

All you need to do is provide Dr. Sam Dadu of Lagos, Nigeria, with your bank account and routing numbers and poof, you've got cash. And lots of it, thanks to your willingness to squirrel away the $21.5 million Dadu and his buddies at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation have scammed from a business transaction.

This get-rich-quick invitation is being sent via e-mail, U.S. mail and fax machines around the ISU campus and the nation. Should this bogus offer pop up on your computer screen, heed the advice of DPS Captain Rob Bowers: delete it, don't respond.

"The best thing you can do with a message like this is get rid of it," Bowers advises. "There are lots of variations on this scheme being e-mailed, including one that asks you to send $10,000 to secure a surety bond for the money's transfer. Other times, the information you provide allows these people to clean out your bank accounts."

Unlike many e-mail "urban legends" being circulated around the nation, this particular ruse is an actual attempt to steal funds from innocent victims, Bowers said. During the 10 years the swindle has been circulating, some individuals have actually traveled to Nigeria to close the non-existent deal.

According to Jerry Stewart, interim DPS director, campus law enforcement officials have talked with FBI representatives over the years concerning the Nigerian plot, which by now has spun off into several "copycat" versions. Though neither he nor Bowers is aware of any Iowa State employees or students having cooperated with the perpetrators of this plan, both want to keep it that way.

"There are lots of e-mail scams out there," Bowers said,"and we're suggesting you delete them all. And even if it's a 'feel-good, send this to five friends and Bill Gates will mail you $5', none of those ever happen. The worst thing we can do with this spam is to keep sending it to other people."

Contact DPS officials at 4-4428 if you receive such requests, or forward the e-mails to Stewart at; Bowers at or Gene Deisinger, DPS special operations manager, at For more information on e-mail scams, check out the Federal Trade Commission's "Dirty Dozen" list at

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