What is a Nigerian scam
A Nigerian scam is a ploy in which a sender requests help to facilitate the transfer of a large amount of money, usually in the form of an email. In return, the sender offers a commission – a large amount, sometimes up to several million dollars depending on the perceived credulity of the target. The scammers then request that money be sent to pay for some of the costs associated with the transfer. If money is sent to scammers, they will disappear immediately or try to get more money by pretending that the transfer continues to be a problem.
Also known as “advance fraud” and “419 fraud”.
SHAKE UP THE NIGERIAN SCAM
This specific type of scam is generally called a Nigerian scam because of its prevalence in the country, particularly in the 1990s. There is also a section of article 419 of the Nigerian Penal Code that makes this type of fraud illegal. However, this scam is not limited to Nigeria and is also perpetrated by many organizations in many countries around the world. The origins of this scam are widely debated, with some suggesting that it started in Nigeria in the 1970s, while others suggest that its origins date back hundreds of years to other trusted scams such as the Spanish prisoners scam.
How a Nigerian scam works
The scammers hope that the commission offered will be attractive enough to force the recipient to take the risk of sending thousands of dollars to a stranger. The reasons given for the transfer may differ from a government freezing an account to the existence of an account with no beneficial owner. When it comes to this type of request, however, it’s important to remember that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Nigerian scams continue because it only takes a handful of people to be easily fooled. Scammers know it’s a numbers game. Hundreds of thousands of attempts will trap enough suction cups over time to make the time of the fraudsters worth it.
Warning signs of a Nigerian scam include a U.S. currency account in a foreign country, strange spelling and language in the body of the email, and a promise of substantial compensation for little effort.