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Will You Fall For a Nigerian Email Scam?

Author: Matthew Gates
Website: http://www.matthewgates.co/
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Getting Scammed May Be Easier Than You Think

Email Scam

Scammers have been around long before the Internet even existed, with con-men going into people’s homes with a sob story about a long lost relative, a charity, or any organization that needed a little money up front in return for a lot of money to given at a promised later date. Some of them would even go into banks and get a large loan from the bank without any intent of ever paying it back. As the Internet came about, scammers simply moved their operations and collecting emails addresses became huge business. For every million emails, there is most likely one person to fall for the scam — and that’s all it takes — for the scam to work and for someone to receive a payday.

There was a case in which one unlucky woman fell for the Nigerian scandal, in which she was emailed about a long-lost relative or a war-torn country in which funds needed to be shuffled around, and she would receive $20 million in return for her troubles. She ended up sending more and more money and they promised a bigger return that she would get. She ended up letting her greed get the best of her, and in the end, she ended up with nothing. These cases are known as 419 scams, confidence tricks, Fifo’s Fraud, or black money scams in which a person provides an advance-fee up front through Western Union or a Moneygram, which are almost always untraceable and irreversible when sent internationally. Some more severe cases reported have led 419 scammers to lure their victim to the country, extort them, and even murder them.

At the time of this writing, I received three emails, one from the "Bank of Nigeria", the other from the "United Nations", and a third from a sick woman writing her email in bed. In the first one, they go over claiming the money. In the second email they are actually going to pay me for being a scam victim of Nigerian fraud. So if I follow through with the first email and then follow through in the second email, than I should lose all my money and then get it back? Irony anyone? As for the third email, a woman shares too much information about her situation including the fact that she is "barren", her husband died in a plane crash, while writing to me from her death bed.

FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC

HEAD OFFICE SAMUEL ASABIA

HOUSE, 35 MARINA LAGOS NIGERIA.

Attention: Sir/Madam,

NOTIFICATION FOR RELEASE OF YOUR US$10.5M.

This letter is written to you in order to change your life from today.I am Rev. John Aboh the new director, international remittance department of this bank, my boss Mr Jacob M Ajekigbe, the MD/ CEO of this bank is now on compulsory leave and all power has been vested on me to make all international payment....Furthermore due to allegations of corrupt practice against other Nigeria Banks, the Federal Government of Nigeria has appointed this bank to effect all foreign overdue payment. Be informed that the Federal Government have Approved the release of US$10.5M which have been in this bank for many years UNCLAIMED. Our Boss in collaboration with the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria have refuse to tell you the truth on how to claim your fund, this is because they has been using the interest accumulated from your fund every year to enrich themselves without your knowledge. I want to help you PULL OUT this fund to your Bank account today using the easiest and quickest method which has not been known to you be A domiciliary account is a secure account which we will open for you in our Bank and Credit your payment of US$10.5M for further credit into your account, the essence of this Domiciliary account is to secure and protect your payment from being diverted by fraudulent people or making payment to a foreign account which do not belong to you, the greatest advantage is that you can instruct us to credit your nominated account bit by bit with small amount thereby saving yourself from the embarrassment of Financial Authority in your country who monitor large transfer due to current trend of terrorist. Another beauty of the domiciliary account is that you can retain the balance left in your account in our Bank and can also instruct us to pay out money to any bank of your choice in the world, or issue you an ATM Card which you can use in any part of the world when in a business trip.

I hope you now understand the advantages of a Domiciliary account and why you need this account to receive your payment of US$10.5M now in our Bank. You are advice to forward as a matter of urgent.

(1) YOUR FULL NAME:

(2) FULL ADDRESS OF YOUR CITY, STATE AND COUNTRY:

(3) PHONE, FAX AND MOBILE:

(4) COMPANY NAME, POSITION AND ADDRESS:

(5) PROFESSION, AGE AND MARITAL STATUS:

(6) A COPY OF YOUR INT'L PASSPORT/DRIVERS LICENSE.

As we have started the process of opening the account for you. All that is require of you is to Activate the newly opened Domiciliary Account with a minimum of $395 USD in line with Provisions of Section 2 Sub Section (iia) of Banks and Financial Act of 2001 which state that all Non Resident Account otherwise known as Domiciliary must be activated to make the account operational, while Sub Section (iib) Do NOT permit any Bank official from making deduction from the payment to be deposited in the domiciliary account, which is US$10.5M in your own case.

I will advise you to contact me with this email: **********@live.com

I await your urgent response to enable us commence.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. John Aboh.

Director International Remittance,

First Bank of Nigeria Plc.

 

The second one is very similar as well, but instead of being from Nigeria, is from the United Nations.

UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF INTERNAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES

INTERNAL AUDIT MONITORING CONSULTING AND INVESTIGATION DIVISION

Dear: Fund Beneficiary,

This is to bring to your notice that I am delegated from United Nations to travel down to Nigeria this Year 2014 by our Secretary-General. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon to pay 20 Nigerian scam victims the sum of $10.5Million USD each, after considering much fraud/scam reports from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia, Europe, Oceania, South America and the United States of America, respectively against the Federal Government of Nigeria. You can go through my website for you to know exactly who you are dealing with.

[Website removed for safety reasons]

However your name are listed and approved for this payment as one of the scammed victims, so get back to me as soon as possible with a scanned copy of your international passports or drivers license for identifications and for the immediate payment of your $10.5Million compensation funds.

Note: You can receive your compensations payments via ATM MASTER CARD,Therefore you are advice to Re-Confirm the following information immediately to enable us proceed with the payment and also bear it in mind that you are required to take care of the delivery charges $475.00USD which was agreed must be paid before the delivery of your ATM MASTER CARD will have to take place OR you rush down here immediately and pick up your Atm Card without any payment.

(1) Full Name:......

(2) Home Address:.....

(3) Telephone Numbers:....

(4) Occupation and Age:....

(5) A Copy of your ID CARD:.....

As soon as I hear from you with the above needed information your compensation payment of $10.5millon United State Dollars will be release to you immediately without any further delay, and do not forget that your compensation payment has been approved and signed by the President of this country and the United Nations Secretary-General.Mr. Ban Ki-Moon , so any delay right now will be from your side and it will not be accepted.

Contact email: **********@outlook.com

Yours Sincerely,

Ms. Carman Lapointe-Young

United Nations Under-Secretary

General for Internal Oversight.

 

In this third email, I can't imagine anyone wanting to give me, a stranger, money. Everyone in my life always wants to take it away, whether its the government, the IRS, the bank, or the student loan companies. So her email is just too good to be true.. but I'm not really interested in contacting her lawyer, either.

Greetings to you and your family,

I am Mrs. Stacy Russell.I am writing you this email from my sick bed, I know my message will come to you as a surprise But don't worry. When I heard from the doctor that my condition has become so critical, I had to reach out to a Christian sister, who assisted me in searching for your contact in order to help me utilize this wealth the way I am going to instruct herein, and even the sister that helped me in this regard doesn't know the purpose for which I intend to use it I have prayed about it and it has been revealed to me that you can make judicious use of the resources for its intended purpose.

My husband earned these funds, (TWENTY EIGHT MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND) but he died in a plane crash and left everything behind for me and I will join him soon due to my ill health. Due to my infertility resulting from medical problems I became barren. God has a reason for everything.

Ensure to use a greater portion of the funds for its purpose in fulfillment of my last wish. Furthermore you will never have any problem with the law as far as my lawyer is in concern. The most major part you will use to bless Helpless and Needy Children all over the world. Please reply me if you can assure me to use the money for its purpose so I can send you my lawyer's contact for you to contact him.

May God Keep you alive and bless you as you help,

Yours Faithfully

Mrs Stacy Russell

My Private Email: *********@outlook.com

 

The first two emails came about 2 hours apart from each other. Of course, they probably came from the same person, Nigerian Computer Centeror two men sitting next to each other at a computer center in Nigeria or another country. Nigeria is known for this type of activity and it becomes very hard to trace, as computer centers are a dime a dozen in Nigeria, so perpetrators can move freely from computer center to computer center, setting up new email addresses each time, different fake bank accounts each time, etc. This is their profession, their life, their job, their career, and they spend all day, everyday sending emails. They may get paid a small amount of money to do this by a larger businessman who cannot be detected, and the bigger payout actually goes to the businessman. However, this is pure speculation, and the scammers sending the email may work alone or with a group of men to accomplish their task of scamming someone into sending them hundreds to thousands of dollars.

There are plenty of new techniques and old ones still being used to scam people. From stories of lost relatives, to the lottery, to government payouts, there is always at least one sucker who will fall for the story, end up handing over a name, address, and even possibly a driver’s license, passport, or bank account information — sometimes even a social security number. Once you hand over any of this personal information about yourself that reveals your personal identity, you have begun a long process in your life and you are probably never going to fully be able to recover your stolen identity.

Your identity is the most important thing you have. It is like air and once you lose it, your life will no longer be the same, ever again. You will become very paranoid and frustrated. You will feel very vulnerable and it will take many years to recover and feel secure again. You will curse out the individuals responsible for stealing your identity, but they will probably never be caught. They are in the business of stealing identities. It is their profession and how they make a living, so they know what they are doing, and they do not care how you are doing. You are money to them, nothing more. If you have mail with any personal information on it, including your address, be sure to invest in a paper shredder. While you think your garbage is safe, it is the easiest place for someone to find and steal your identity. Your reputation of a good or perfect credit score is over. Your ability to obtain credit or even fix credit will become very hard to do. So protect your identity with your life because it is your life.

There are many legit companies that have sprung up over the past two decades, and it has become big business for them, charging around one hundred dollars a year to monitor your credit history, your credit cards, and anything to ensure that they are not being used irresponsibly. Some of these companies will even help you get your life back on track if your identity has been stolen and used by another individual other than you.

The most important thing you can do for yourself is to prevent yourself from being scammed. If you ever receive a call from anyone claiming to be from your bank and they ask for personal information, hang up immediately. Call back an official 800 number provided by your bank and speak to a representative about the incident. They will ensure you that they do not make personal calls. If they do, they will email you and ask you to call them. No bank, no government, and even your job should never call you and ask for any personal information, especially over the phone.

Craigslist ScamIf you are applying for a job on Craigslist and they send you an official W4 form to fill out, ensure that you do your research about the company before you hand over any personal information. If the company does not have an official 800 number, than you may want to consider personally visiting them onsite to make sure they are legit. While Craigslist has its own employees and people to report issues like this, it cannot monitor every single post put up in and catch it in time to stop the scam. It mostly relies on people reporting the post in order for it to be brought down and stopped. Ebay is another paradise for scammers, who are often after buying technical equipment with stolen credit cards, purchase it for a much higher price than anticipated, and then the credit card eventually gets reported stolen, Paypal freezes the account, and you’ve sent your item — which is received by the recipient, while you get no money in the end. Of course, both Ebay and Paypal also have protection measures in place to attempt to stop this and even reimburse the sender, but there are plenty of cases that go through the cracks and the original seller is out of luck.

There is also another area of the Internet where websites are popping up asking for too much information, and if they do, you must use your best judgement.  These websites are affiliates - sites that pay you to refer people to sign up on their website, or buy products from the company. While many of these websites are certainly legit, there is a danger in freely giving up personal information with anything you sign up for.  These websites ask you for a required Tax ID number, also known as a Social Security Number (SSN), Employer Identification Number (EIN), Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions (ATIN), or a Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number (PTIN).  Most people have a Social Security Number that is part of your identity, and there are plenty of people who are willing to give it up freely. Be very weary when signing up for these websites that ask for that information. I personally avoid them and only sign up for websites that will pay out via Paypal or Check.

Creating a way to be able to avoid filling out tons and tons of information on websites, Social Media did us all a favor with one-click logins. Social Media will now send all your information over to the website, but there is no Social Media Network that actually check to see if the site is legit and freely hands over a majority of your information. While this information is somewhat limited, even just having some information about you is the start to something. As a precaution, avoid signing up for websites with your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other Social Media accounts if you do not trust the source.  In fact, you should create a "fake" email account to sign up for most websites to ensure that most of your privacy remains hidden. If the website has PageRank or is established, you probably should not worry too much, though there is always some concern.

Hackers are lurking everywhere and there are plenty of them - while many do good, there are still a few handfuls that live to do evil on the Internet.  Any company or business that is on the Internet — banks, non-profits, government sites, healthcare websites, etc. — is a potential target to any hacker or disgruntled employee that wants such important information, or even see the company suffer. It may be as easy as figuring out a password, stealing a hard drive, or even sending an email.   If a company's information is stolen, there is always the possibility that your information has been stolen too.

Recently, Target, a massive retail company, admitted publicly that during November of 2013 to December of 2013, they were the subject of a massive data breach involving the theft of information from about 70 million individuals. The stolen information included customer names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, or e-mail addresses, encrypted PIN data, credit and debit card numbers as well as their expiration dates including the embedded code on the back of cards.  While it is uncertain if Social Security Number information was stolen, a talented individual with criminal-like tendencies, whose life work is to steal the identity of people can hone in on any individual they want, seek out any information they can get on their target, including going through their garbage or any information they throw out, to possibly even becoming involved in their target's life, and getting any information they need to steal an identity.

Be weary of everything on the Internet and everything you do on the Internet. Be weary of everything you do off the Internet. Religiously check any and all bank information to ensure that your banking activity is normal. If anything looks suspicious, report it immediately! Unfortunately, as much as we would like to think we live in a world where people are honest, hardworking, and friendly — the truth is, there are many people who are not and will do anything and everything to make a few extra bucks, regardless of who they hurt in the process. If something seems too good to be true and your intuition is telling you that it is wrong, you should probably listen to your intuition. It exists for a reason and while it may be wrong sometimes, you might be doing yourself a favor in the long run.

Here are a list of 10 things you can go over and remember before you do anything.

  1. No one gives away free money. Hardly anything in life is free and for most of us, there are no easy rides in life. Sorry.
  2. If it is not traceable, it is not legit.
  3. No company, bank, or government will ever email you or call you and ask for personal information. If they do, report them to the local authorities. A phone call to 911 or a police department telling them that a phone call received from this number is asking you for personal information can easily solve the situation and probably prevent issues in the future.
  4. Make sure you call an official 800 number, send a letter to a legit address, or send an email to a legit email address that is listed on a website or given to you by a legit representative of the company if you are giving personal information.
  5. If someone is asking you to put out money before giving you money, than you have no business to be sending them money. If they promise to give you double or a return on your money, especially if they are asking for help, chances are, they need help because they have no money. When it comes to money, you probably do not have any extra to give and if you do, on the right side of this page is a Donation button to pay for the hosting costs to keep this website running, please consider donating to a better cause. In fact, I will include it right in this article. Donations are sent through Paypal so I never see any of your information.
    • Donate towards our web hosting bill!
      Please consider making a small donation to help offset the costs of our hosting bill. This site is run with very minimal ads. We appreciate your donation and support for this website.
      Thank you.

  6. If you get sent a check beforehand and are told to send money, go to the bank and see if that check is actually legit. Even then, you probably should have no business receiving “free money” from anyone, except if your family or friends are giving you a gift.
  7. Do not hand over any personal information revealing yourself. If you have personal information listed on any of your Social Media Networks, it would be best if you removed it.
  8. Unless you have a family member living in another country that you send money to, you have no business sending money to another country at all. The United States government and any bank in the United States cannot protect you as they have no jurisdiction in other countries. Not even insurance companies can protect you and reimburse you for your lost property or wages if money is in another country.
  9. Use your brain. Use your smarts. Use your intelligence. Use your intuition. Use common sense. If something does not seem right, do not go along with it.
  10. Protect your identity at all costs. You only get one. Invest in a paper shredder and shred any mail with your name, address, phone number, or account numbers! With the advancement and acceptance of Social Media and other technology, we give so much personal information away for free, not realizing that anyone who is in the business of stealing personal information could easily have it already. Be careful and check your bank and credit card statements daily to ensure there are no extra or unauthorized charges!

Following these rules will protect you from any Nigerian email scams or phone calls that may come your way.  You can read the email, laugh about it, but never respond to it with any information about yourself. Do not even respond to it to call the person out and tell them you know the email is fake.  Delete it immediately.  Have nothing to do with it! Get rid of it!  Prevention is your best form of protection for yourself and your identity.


Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.



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3 Comments

  1. Will You Fall For a Nigerian Email Scam? http://t.co/0Js2H7X6PJ via @OneTruConscious

  2. I just got this in my email today, a new scam, not from Nigeria, but a Red Bull scam. Anything that asks for any information, and is unpersonalized, as if directed at no one - is sent with no email in the header, or if you are CC or BCC on the email, asks for too much information - Full Name, Address, Age, Telephone , Number, Sex, Occupation, Country, State, Zip, etc. - all this information gives away everything about you and is enough information to allow any unwanted person into your life to obtain more information about you. Never reply to ANY email asking for this type of information, especially within the email.

    Click the thumbnail below for full information.
    I just got this in my email today, a new scam, not from Nigeria, but a Red Bull scam. Anything that asks for any information, and is unpersonalized, as if directed at no one - is sent with no email in the header, or if you are CC or BCC on the email, asks for too much information - Full Name, Address, Age, Telephone , Number, Sex, Occupation, Country, State, Zip, etc. - all this information gives away everything about you and is enough information to allow any unwanted person into your life to obtain more information about you. Never reply to ANY email asking for this type of information, especially within the email.

    Click the thumbnail below for full information.
    Red Bull Scam

  3. They are getting trickier by the moment, a few years ago I used to get an email from these Nigerian princes telling me those same things. At first of course who wouldn't be trapped by those promises of millions but then after a while you will find the inconsistencies from what they claim. And now if I find an email that looks like it, I just flag it as spam and ignore.

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  • Once you hand over any personal information about yourself, your identity is stolen.
  • Your identity is the most important thing you have. It is like air and once you lose it, your life will no longer be the same, ever again.
  • If something seems too good to be true and your intuition is telling you that it is wrong, you should probably listen to your intuition.