The Nigerian Scam letters - I'm sure you've received them in your mail and
your inbox. This scam has been running for decades, and by now I would think
that most people in the United States have received it or heard about it in
one form or another.
Often an official-looking letter arrives in the
mail. It is postmarked from Nigerian, has a hand-written address and the
letter appears to be hand typed. It begs for help and offers a handsome
return for your time. And I do mean a handsome return - typically it
offers over a million dollars for the simple favor of using your bank
account to transfer some money.
Don't even think about responding -
this is a scam of the worst sort. There are people who have lost their
entire life savings because they called the phone number and let their
greed kick in and left their brains at home.
Sometimes this scam
arrives in your email - an example email is included below (note this is
a scam - do not try and respond to it).
-------------------------------------------------------- LADY MARYAM
ABACHA ABACHA COURT GIDADO ROAD KANO-NIGERIA THE PRESIDENT/CEO
I am Lady Maryam Abacha, wife
of late General Sani Abacha, Ex-military Head of states of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria who died on 8th June 1998 of heart problems. l
contacted you because of my need to deal with persons whom my family and
l have had no previous personal relationships. Since the death of my
husband, my family had been subjected to all sorts of harassment's and
intimidation with lots of negative report emanating from the government and
the press about my husband. The present government has also ensured that our
bank accounts are frozen and all assets seized. It is in view of this that I
seek your cooperation and assistance in the transfer of the sum of
US$30,000,000.00 (Thirty Million United States Dollars only) being the very
last of my family fund in my possession and control. An earlier attempt in
the physical movement of the sum of US$47,000,000.00 was to avail as the
money was confiscated and my International passport impounded at the
Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos in August 1998.The Federal
Government has seized all our properties and frozen all our accounts both
local and International, but my only hope now is the
availableUS$30,000,000.00 which l carefully packed and deposited with a
security company as photographic materials where my brother-in-law is
working as a General manager when my husband died. If you are willing to
assist us in receiving this money on our behalf, please contact my
brother-in-law Alhaji Buba Abacha immediately on the following Telephone
Number DELETED or EMAIL-DELETED@TOPROTECTYOU.COM to discuss the details and
negotiate your reward, which l can assure you, will be very substantial
.Please, ensure to keep this proposal very secret and confidential. We await
your immediate response. Maa Salaam. Sincerely, LADY MARYAM ABACHA.
why I have deleted the email address and phone number. Because, believe
it or not, people call these numbers and send email to these accounts and
lose their money - fast.
What happens? A nice guy or gal picks up
the phone at the other end and starts pulling you into the scam. At first
they need a thousand dollars, perhaps, for postage or some small official
fee. They are fast talkers who do this all of the time - and of you do
give in and give them the money you don't have a chance. You are hooked
and you are hooked bad.
They depend upon greed and prey on the weak.
You think, "wow, I can get a million dollars", and "well, it's a risk but
I'm only going to risk that first thousand". Foolish person.
you've given them your thousand (the amount varies) they start to reel
you in. They will call to tell you they need another $10,000, perhaps, for
bribes to customs officials. You'll pay because you've already paid a
thousand, and because it sounds like the money is just about to be
transferred into your bank account.
So you'll pay. Then you'll call
and you'll have to give them another amount, bigger this time, and
deliver it in person, perhaps. You'll do it - you've already spent a lot
of money and you don't want to lose it. You'll deliver the money and then
be given a story - only to get another call.
This time you will be
very suspicious, and you might be told they need to "wash" all of the
money. You want to see, they'll meet you and indeed, they will have a
handful of black money. They'll use some solvent and like magic the money
They will explain that the money was hidden and got
"dirty" and now they need perhaps $50,000 to clean it. Some people have
paid as much as half a million dollars at this point. The stories are
sometimes different, sometimes the same, but you'll pay. Because now the
greed is mixed with fear and a little more greed - you've actually had
the money in your hands now.
How long does this go on? Until you
won't or can't pay anymore. Then you just get thrown away. People
disappear, calls aren't return, and if you do get hold of someone they
deny knowing you or give you some excuse.
Report it to someone? Who?
The FBI? Sure, they know all about this scam. Yes, they will take your
data and add it to their database - but the scam is not operated on
United States soil and there is no one to catch - at least no one who can
be found. There is also little or no evidence - it's very difficult to
catch this kind of thief.
So what do you do?
Use your brain.
Don't under any conditions give money to scammers. How do you spot a scam?
Simple. The offer is too good to be true. It's that simple. Get a million
for doing nothing? Come on. Doesn't happen (unless you win the lottery).
Don't even respond. Just delete the emails or throw away the letters.
About the Author
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This
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