“DEAR SIR/MADAM: I REPRESENT THE RECENTLY DEPOSED MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE FOR NODAMBIZIA, WHO HAS EMBEZZLED 30 MILLION DOLLARS FROM HIS STARVING COUNTRYMEN AND NOW NEEDS TO GET IT OUT OF THE COUNTRY…”
This is a typical “Nigerian letter”.The essence of the Nigerian scams, which are also called Nigerian 419 or 419 scams, was that before transferring millions of dollars the recipient had to pay “insurance” as a guarantee worth several hundred thousand dollars. Several people even managed to transfer $ 400 thousand, before the deception was revealed. It is clear that no one did get millions.
First, this type of scam was mastered by residents of Nigeria, that’s why it’s named so. The ‘4-1-9’ part of the name comes from the section of Nigeria’s Criminal Code which outlaws the practice. It appeared more than 10 years ago, but even now you can get similar letters from many African countries (Nigeria, Benin, Togo and South Africa). “Nigerian scam” makes up more than 8% of all the scams on the Internet now.
The topics of these letters are similar. For example: 1.”We need urgent help”; 2. “Business Communication”; 3. “Asking for your help”; 4. “Cry for help”, and so on.
The Nigerian Anaka Martina Aniemba got 3 year imprisonment and a fine of US $ 25 million on July 15, 2005. She arranged fraud the result of which was that one of the Brazilian banks had been deceived by 242 million dollars.
There are subtypes of this fraud:
1. “attractive option.” Your business is planned to be invested by sending money directly to your accounts. And you need “only” to provide the full bank details of the company with signature samples and stamp impression;
2. “Direction to the gullible.” Nigerian businessmen are willing to invest the amount of 200-300 thousand dollars in your company. This money is supposed to be put on a special trust account. You have to do quite a bit: 4-5 thousand dollars needs to be paid off for “operating expenses»;
3. “dangerous” – authors of the letter lure the victim into their territory, and through threats or violence, blackmail and intimidation “knock out” money from him. Such a way of making money is not new. But Nigerians turn out to be very smart in inventing “baits” and putting the matter on the flow.
What to do?
There are no altruists. Nobody will just invest in your business, what is the more by referring to you via emails. If you do not leave any requests for attracting investment funds, it is next to impossible, and should make you suspicious. If you really attract investment through any Internet sources, carefully check the authors of such messages. Actually operating investment funds have managers who will lead your request and check all interested investors.
The majority of the recipients do not respond to these emails, however there is a small percentage do. That number is enough to make the fraud worthwhile.
• If the “Opportunity” looks too good to be true, it probably is.
• Do not reply to e-mails asking for personal banking information.
• Be wary of individuals representing themselves as foreign government officials.
• Be cautious when dealing with individuals outside of your own country.
• Beware when asked to assist in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts.
• Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation.
• Guard and check your account information carefully.
• Be cautious when additional fees are requested to further the transaction.