Incredible Nigerian Scam Involves an Astronaut Lost in Space

anorak nigerian astronaut scam

British website Anorak received the above email last week. It is delightfully unhinged. Far superior to the now very old Nigerian Prince email scam. Let’s break it down below.

Subject: Nigerian Astronaut Wants To Come Home
Dr. Bakare Tunde
Astronautics Project Manager
National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA)
Plot 555
Misau Street
PMB 437
Garki, Abuja, FCT NIGERIA

Dear Mr. Sir,

I love that in this day and age, these guys think you can send someone an email but also assume they don’t have access to Google. One look at NASRDA’s official site (it is actually real) and you’ll realize they are barely equipped to design a modern website. There is zero chance they’ve put an astronaut in space.

REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE-STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL

I am Dr. Bakare Tunde, the cousin of Nigerian Astronaut, Air Force Major Abacha Tunde. He was the first African in space when he made a secret flight to the Salyut 6 space station in 1979. He was on a later Soviet spaceflight, Soyuz T-16Z to the secret Soviet military space station Salyut 8T in 1989. He was stranded there in 1990 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. His other Soviet crew members returned to earth on the Soyuz T-16Z, but his place was taken up by return cargo. There have been occasional Progrez supply flights to keep him going since that time. He is in good humor, but wants to come home.

Why is this confidential? Why doesn’t any website tell us about the great astronaut Abacha Tunde? Maybe because… he doesn’t exist? Oh wait, it’s because he went in a secret flight. Well, emailing random people might not be the best way to keep this confidential and secret. The Soyuz 8¬†was a spaceship, not a space station. And you can’t have secret space stations. Because there’s nowhere to hide them. You can see satellites and space stations with telescopes if you wanted to. But the very premise of this is hilarious. They bumped this astronaut to bring home cargo. And then they left him up there. But even though he’s been stuck in space since 1989, he’s in “good humor.” That’s amazing! The kind of thing a country would want to brag about, not keep a secret.

In the 14-years since he has been on the station, he has accumulated flight pay and interest amounting to almost $ 15,000,000 American Dollars. This is held in a trust at the Lagos National Savings and Trust Association. If we can obtain access to this money, we can place a down payment with the Russian Space Authorities for a Soyuz return flight to bring him back to Earth. I am told this will cost $ 3,000,000 American Dollars. In order to access the his trust fund we need your assistance.

14 years? By my math it’s a lot more. Does that mean this is an old scam, bad math or what? Also, what kind of salary does this guy pull down that he’s earned $15 million over “14 years”? That’s pretty amazing! So the government will pay this guy but they won’t use money to bring him back home! They sure are lucky that the Russians have been keeping this 14-year old space station functioning and supplied, aren’t they? At a certain point, you’d think Russia might just want to bring him home instead of maintaining a really old space station.

It will cost $3 million to bring him home? That’s actually a hell of a deal! It cost us more like $450 million per mission. They could bring this guy home in a day with a Kickstarter.

Consequently, my colleagues and I are willing to transfer the total amount to your account or subsequent disbursement, since we as civil servants are prohibited by the Code of Conduct Bureau (Civil Service Laws) from opening and/ or operating foreign accounts in our names.

Needless to say, the trust reposed on you at this juncture is enormous. In return, we have agreed to offer you 20 percent of the transferred sum, while 10 percent shall be set aside for incidental expenses (internal and external) between the parties in the course of the transaction. You will be mandated to remit the balance 70 percent to other accounts in due course.

And now for a bunch of math that makes no sense. That “14 years” since 1989 is starting to make more sense. So, do they want you to pay $3 million? Or just keep 20% of the $15 million? Obviously they are playing on people’s greed here, telling them they’ll have access to the full amount of money and only be expected to return some of it. Like, who gets this email and thinks: “Oh, finally Nigeria thought to involve me! It’s about time someone asked for my help bringing an astronaut home.”? It’s the most far-fetched, and therefore wonderful, scam email ever. I can only hope it’s real.

Kindly expedite action as we are behind schedule to enable us include downpayment in this financial quarter.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message via my direct number 234 (0) 9-234-2220 only.

Yours Sincerely, Dr. Bakare Tunde
Astronautics Project Manager
tip@nasrda.gov.ng

http://www.nasrda.gov.ng/

You know, this astronaut has been in space for 14 years. If I can’t get to it this financial quarter, I think it’ll be okay. Also, sweet email. “Tip”. And it has a government extension. Lovely to see Nigeria cracking down on this kind of thing.