Beware of the Nigerian Scam

Scam Letters Written on KeyboardI’ve received them and I’ll bet you have, too. I’m talking about unsolicited letters or emails from people saying they need my help.

Often, they say they’re officials of a foreign government trying to transfer funds illegally out of their country. They need a foreign partner, and request personal and banking information so that funds can be transferred to my account. But first I have to transfer some money to them in order to help cover tax fees, bribes, legal charges, or other costs.

These fees will be reimbursed, I’m told, as soon as the foreign money leaves the country. But the reality is … well, you know.

Many of these letters and emails are said to come from Nigeria. In fact, this sort of scam is often referred to as the Nigerian scam or the 419 scam. “419” refers to the article of the Nigerian criminal code dealing with this sort of activity. But the reality is that this sort of scam emanates from various countries including the United States.

This whole scenario is so farfetched nobody on earth could possibly fall for it, right? Well, the fact is that a lot of people who are usually level-headed have fallen hard.

The FBI Common Frauds page devotes a section to the Nigerian scam, warning anyone receiving a “Nigerian Letter” not to reply. It also advises sending a copy of the letter to the US Secret Service, the FBI, or the US Postal Inspection Service. Above it, it warns not to believe the promises in the letter and to guard your banking information carefully.

You can go further by reporting the emails by using your email provider’s scam link.

Senior living ought to be as trouble-free as possible, so reporting and deleting these emails is probably the safest approach to take. Not everyone, however, takes a play-it-safe approach to combating the scammers. Click here to see unconventional approaches some people have taken after being contacted by scammers—and have a laugh while you’re at it.

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If you’ve ever been targeted by “Nigerian scammers”, or know someone who has, won’t you leave a comment below telling us about it?

Beware of the Nigerian Scam © 2012


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