Pen Pals with Nigerian Princes

Dear Nigerian Prince

There are three things I hate:

  1. Scams
  2. Spam email
  3. Olives

But since I recently did a whole post on not whining, I’m not about to do that with these three awful, terrible, no good, lousy things. After all, maybe I haven’t given them a fair shake. Maybe they’ve just gotten a bad rap.

In that spirit of curiosity, I tried olives again last week — they’re still terrible. So there’s that.

As far as scams and spam email, I decided that maybe these scammers and spammers were just misunderstood. Or maybe, just maybe, they really were African princes that wanted to bequeath upon me and my family their inheritance in the sum of $500 million. So I’ve started responding to them using an alter-ego (Jack) email address.

Attempt #1

Nigerian Prince email

Richard still hasn’t responded to me, so I can only assume his client’s name is Jafar.

Attempt #2

African Prince email

Nigerian Prince scam

This email is hot off the press, so no response yet. But I’ve got a good feeling about Mr. Victor. There’s something about his CAPS LOCK and grammar that makes me trust him.

Attempt #3

Nigerian Prince scam

I think Tom is still running the numbers because he hasn’t gotten back to me… yet.


This experiment is still a work in progress. I’m hopeful that I’ll make some friends AND money along the way. In fact, the next time I post about this, we might be millionaires. And if my payday is as large as I’m being promised, I’ll share it with all of you. All I need you to do is send me your name, bank account number, date of birth, and favorite Ring Pop flavor.


(Original photo by borman818)

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  • Reply Grayson @ Debt Roundup March 7, 2013 at 7:24 am

    This has made my day start out so well Johnny. This is hilarious. I love your answers. Enjoy your riches when you get them.

    • Reply Shawn L. March 7, 2013 at 7:26 am

      Hilarious! Haha great read to start the day…

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks, guys. And hopefully your days will start out even better the day I cash in on one of these and make it rain on everyone. Free money, all around.

  • Reply Laurie @thefrugalfarmer March 7, 2013 at 7:45 am

    LOL! Thanks for the giggle! In my idiocy, I forgot to check the propane tank (we’re new to this country livin’ ) and we are now out of heat and it’s 6 degrees outside. Suffice to say, I needed the laugh. Pray for us that we don’t turn into icicles and trash our plumbing system as I wait for Mr. Propane Guy to come and hook us up. 🙂

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      Woah!! I had no idea that propane was used out in the country. And 6 degrees! That kinda bad luck reminds me of the time my car’s heater went out just in time for a two week sub-zero stretch. I would leave our house wrapped in blankets and rock back and forth the entire commute. The worst.

      Hopefully y’all stayed toasty.

  • Reply Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies March 7, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Why are you hating on olives? Man, I don’t know if we can be friends anymore. Unless you were talking about green olives. Those things are awful.

    If you really want to get some scammers to email you, post a real email address on Craigslist on an ad to rent an apartment. They’re pretty direct about asking for you routing and account numbers so they can “send a deposit”. =)

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      Ugh. All olives. Black, green, whatever. I discriminate equally.

      Ooooh, you’re right about Craigslist. If there’s a next installment, I might try my luck there. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Reply Michelle March 7, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Hahahaha LOVE this! I win like a billion dollars everyday 🙂

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      I knew there was some sort of catch behind your awesome income reports. And now the cat’s out of the bag.

  • Reply Brad @ MrWriteAway March 7, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Hilarious! Seriously though, if you win/are awarded some money… you should share… with me. I’m not a huge Ring Pop fan, but I do like Nerds or Laffy Taffy in any flavor.

    • Reply Roo // NiceGirlNotes March 7, 2013 at 9:04 am

      No, don’t share with Brad. Share with me. STARBURST jelly beans. You can keep all the red/green/purple ones, though.

      • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 10:32 pm

        So that leaves yellow and orange? Orange is alright. But yellow is weak. You might as well include the popcorn flavored Jelly Belly.

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      I could probably spring for Nerds. Probably some Swedish Fish, some Pop Rocks. Regardless, I’ll add you to my list of beneficiaries.

  • Reply Catherine March 7, 2013 at 9:48 am

    haha this is funny. I HATE getting these e-mails. FAWK! There was actually a local news story about an elderly lady who got sucked in by these scams and lost ALL of her savings 🙁 Because they couldn’t identify any one person who did it to her she was SOL. Sad.

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      Pretty sad how trusting the elderly are. But until folks wise up and stop falling for that crap, we’ll keep getting their spam.

  • Reply Johnny Moneyseed March 7, 2013 at 9:50 am

    I hate olives.. and black licorice! I was in a class last week, the teacher told us his mother had sent over $14,000 in a 3 year period to these type of scammers. He had a friend that had sent over $100k as well, because he was convinced they would make him a millionaire like the letters said.

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      I’m a HUGE black licorice fan. I love it with the same intensity that I hate olives. But we’ve still got the same first name, so we’re still cool.

      Man, that stuff is super depressing. It blows my mind that anyone could for a second think there’s a shred of truth behind these scams. But more maddening is that someone is at the other end perpetuating the scam. There’s a special place in hell for them.

      • Reply Johnny Moneyseed March 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm

        Yeah I’m pretty sure when they actually receive money from people they do the *MANIACAL LAUGH* from the Muppet movie.

        • Reply Johnny March 11, 2013 at 12:53 am

          LOL. Spot on.

  • Reply Brian March 7, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Hilarious! Reminds me of this article where they got back at an ebay scammer:

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      Hahaha. Oh man… that is gold. I just read the whole thing. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Rob March 7, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Too funny for sure! Be cautious though when replying to these types of spam emails. Using a different email address is fine so long as they can’t in any way trace back to your computer’s IP address. Logging in with a fake email and using a proxi server works best. Sometimes these village idiots are just after your gullible money but sometimes they are also after people’s email addresses (which they then sell and/or exchange with other mass spammers). In like manner, if ever one wants to stop spam emails then don’t reply to them using one’s personal email address, requesting them to stop emailing. Instead set up an email filter block to ward off any future repeat emails from these clowns. I read somewhere that spam email represents some 90% of all internet email traffic. I’m not surprised if this is correct or not since much of it is generated by computer (ro)bot programs, hence the probable reason why you usually won’t receive any followup replies.

    • Reply Chris March 7, 2013 at 10:51 am

      I concur.

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 10:57 pm

      Thanks for the tips. I covered by tail pretty well on this one. Fake email alias and proxy. They can have at that email address if they want. I’d love to have more “friends” to chat with. 🙂

  • Reply Mimi March 7, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Anyone who falls for these emails is a dishonest thief himself. I really have very little sympathy for people who cry foul when they are taken in by get rich quick schemes. And it’s easy to vilify Nigerians, even when Nigeria’s EFCC has cracked down on the cyber cafes and area-boys that perpetrate these crimes and the majority of these emails no longer originate from Nigeria.

    — An irritated Nigerian.

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 10:38 am

      I’m grateful that I was taught at a young age that money should only ever accompany hard work. Thus if someone is offering you a proposal that doesn’t include work and appears “too good to be true,” 99% of the time it will be.

      Good on Nigeria for taking matters into their hands. I recognize that the reality is that very few Nigerians are sending these emails. And obviously they aren’t princes. In fact, in the Wikipedia article on the topic (, it acknowledges “while the scam is not limited to Nigeria, the nation has become associated with this fraud and it has earned an unenviable reputation for being a centre of email scam crimes. The top three nations of origin of these scams are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Nigeria (in that order).”

      So maybe it’s time to rename it the American Scam. 🙂

  • Reply Chris March 7, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Fun Fact: One of my Information Systems professors in college was from Nigeria. We affectionally called him “Dr. G” because noone could pronounce his name. He was one of the funniest guys in the world and always creeped on students trying to get them to come back to his place and drink african wine.

    He would tell our class about how him and his friends used to scam the phone companies by making long distance phone calls in Nigeria from telephone poles. He also said that he knew people in Nigeria that perpetuated the email scams and that people actually paid.

    I think he was in on it.

    There are two things I commonly preach to my users: Always read what you’re clicking and if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      Dr. G sounds like a cool dude. He probably made a fortune running the email scams and teaches for fun. Or maybe he uses his role as a teacher in a position of trust to create interference between his covert illegal operations. Maybe we should just write a book about it and pretend like everything I said is true.

      • Reply Chris March 8, 2013 at 4:33 pm

        “The Real Prince of Nigeria”

        • Reply Johnny March 11, 2013 at 12:54 am

          *slow clap* Bravo.

  • Reply anna March 7, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Stop yelling at me is hilarious… thanks for the laughs!

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      I probably should have added CAPS LOCK to my list of things I hate. I don’t like to be shouted at.

  • Reply MomofTwoPreciousGirls March 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    First, laughed so hard I cried!

    Second, I had to call my mother in law this morning, because I got an email from her saying she was had an emergency trip to the Philippines for a “program” and the hotel is holding her wallet and cell phone hostage until someone gives them $1800. My message said “I really hope that you are not trapped in the Philippines in need of money, bc we are broke. I think your email address has been hacked”!

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      That’s a crazy story! And I love your response back. I had a friend who recently posted about how her grandma got a call from a guy claiming to be her grandson. The “grandson” claimed he was being held in Mexico for ransom and she needed to pay them to help him escape. Luckily, she thought something was fishy and so she asked him a question that only he would know the answer to and the guy hung up. They’re definitely getting more clever. Pretty scary stuff.

  • Reply Do or Debt March 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I love finding comic relief here! haha– nice to stick it to them, with a nice joke! I can’t believe this crap is still going on.

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 11:38 pm

      I’d get more satisfaction from it if I was able to make them waste time with me. But no luck yet. They’re going for the easy fish right now. I’m pretty optimistic I’ll lure one of them down my hole at some point.

  • Reply Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin March 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    My mother in law called us up one morning all frantic because the director of the FBI said she owed $50,000 and if she didn’t wire the money to an account number in 48 hours she was going to jail. These guys are outrageous.

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      Man, that’s nuts. Can you imagine waking up in the morning and thinking, “Welp, it’s time to scare the crap out of some folks and scam them for all they’re worth.” If I ever make enough money to do whatever I want, I think I’ll become the counterpart host of “To Catch a Predator” and start “To Catch a Scammer.”

  • Reply Talia March 7, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    This is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time. Your responses are perfect. Keep us posted.

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 11:42 pm

      I’m hopeful that I can get a Part II out of this. But time will tell. Thanks for reading.

  • Reply K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! March 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Now this post is hilarious! Thanks for the comic relief today 🙂

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      Comic relief today, millions of dollars tomorrow. I’ll add you to my list of beneficiaries.

  • Reply KK @ Student Debt Survivor March 7, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Poor bf is trying to sleep and when I read the pez comment I laughed so hard I woke him up. I’m going to have to try responding to my own scam e-mails. Very clever and very entertaining. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Johnny March 7, 2013 at 11:52 pm

      You totally should! In fact, if everyone started responding to them with fluff emails, it’d actually probably slow them down. And slower scammers means less money being sucked out of pockets. Sounds like it’s time to start a movement!

  • Reply Michelle March 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Johnny, I think you just might be crazy. Or a genius. Or, a crazy genius. Love this post. Keep it coming.

    • Reply Johnny March 11, 2013 at 12:57 am

      Haha. I’ll ask my doctor at my next appointment which one he thinks I am. Hopefully by then, I’ll have some Nigerian prince money in my pocket to sway his answer.

  • Reply Gray October 30, 2014 at 2:33 am

    A guy I know was sending money to a “girl” who was in Africa with her mother, who was a missionary, and was sick. The father was wealthy, and had left the majority of his money to the girl, but she had to get home to collect. He sent her over $2500

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