Have you been claim refund contacted by someone from Nigeria asking for your help in transferring money out of the country? If so, then you are one of thousands of people all over the world, including doctors, lawyers engineers and professors, who have been targeted by what is sometimes called the “Nigerian letter scam” or “Nigerian advance fee fraud”. Although “Nigerian” is the name given to it, this scam is international.
The letter or email you get may also pretend to come from another country. How the scam works The scam varies, but usually you will receive a letter, or more often, a fax or email offering you a business “proposal” or transaction.
The Nigerian scam typically involve a letter or email from a person overseas claiming to need help transferring a large sum of money. They typically offer to provide a significant portion of that money in exchange for bank account details
Once you are hooked, you will be asked to pay all sorts of “advance fees” (eg. customs, taxes, bribes, legal fees) to facilitate the transfer. Of course, there is no wealth to be transferred and they just use your bank account details to swipe your hard-earned money from your account.
New versions of the notorious Nigerian scam circulating via email The Nigerian scam letter is popping up everywhere using slightly different names and different con stories. Regardless of what name is used, position they say they have, or what story is spun, these offers of quick wealth are fraudulent and will only result in lost time and money, and the awful feeling of knowing you have been fooled.
- Request to use a bank account to deposit a large sum of money. This scam requests the victim to allow them to use their bank account so a large sum of money may be deposited into. Initial contact with the victim is made by a mass produced email. The money offered may be from a secret bank account, unexpected inheritance, overpaid Government contract or a ‘forgotten sum of money’ left in a Nigerian bank.
In each instance, before the money is placed into the victims’ bank account, a series of fees and charges are required to be paid before the money can be released, eg. taxes, legal fees etc. Despite the victim making numerous payments to individuals in different countries, there are always delays which prevent the money being sent and require a further payment to be made. A key ingredient of this scam is the victim is required to keep the money transfer secret.
- Business Opportunity. A business may receive a request from a Nigerian person posing as a public official offering the opportunity to become involved in a large commercial operation being undertaken in Nigeria. The most common example involves projects in the Nigerian oil industry although other examples have been identified in the telecommunications industry.
The offer will involve very large financial returns and will require the victim to finance a portion of the Nigerian contract. All payments will be required to be forwarded via money transfer agencies such as Western Union in amounts between $5,000.00 and $10,000.00. Examples of the requests for money include: legal fees, taxes, money transfer fees etc. In each instance, the money will be required to be sent to numerous individuals in different countries such as Benin, Togo, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
- Online relationship. This scam targets victims, who are met through internet dating sites, chat rooms or Instant Messenger services. The fraudster may present one of a variety of scenarios including: * Australian citizen in Nigerian hospital – A common scenario begins with the victim chatting online with an Australian citizen living in Nigeria.
Communication suddenly stops until contact is made by a ‘Nigerian doctor’ saying their friend has been in a car crash and needs money to pay for urgent surgery. The victim wishing to help their friend commences sending money to Nigeria via a money transfer facility such as Western Union and as each sum of money is forwarded, a further request for more funds is made. With the internet dating scam, the fraudster represents they wish to travel to Australia however needs help to pay for airfares, visa charges or a passport.
Once these costs have been paid, the fraudster requests more money to pay for their local taxes, family hospital bills and other costs. In each instance, the fraudster represents they have missed their flight to Australia and requests more money to be sent to Nigeria to pay for further airfares. The fraudster continues this scam until the victim runs out of money or refuses to send any more to Nigeria.