How to Tell If You are the Victim of a Nigerian Scammer
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According to the website, Citizen’s Advice Bureau (2014), approximately 4 million people are duped/tricked by scammers each year. Approximately 34% are scammed over the phone, 24% are scammed when they visit certain websites, 16% are scammed through letters, and 10% are scammed through emails, texts, and ads.
Have you ever received a phone call or letter from an unknown person asking for money, threatening harm to you and your loved ones, or attempting to “woo” you with declarations of love and adoration?
If so, you may be the victim of a Nigerian scammer. What is the goal of these scammers? Well, most of the time it is to solicit money out of you. Rarely, it is to actually form a relationship, or harm you or your loved ones. Nigerian scammers are praying that they can convince you to trust them, so that they can steal your money from you. These scammers often use “catfish” tactics to make you think you are speaking to someone else – someone attractive, smart, and/or wealthy. They never admit that they are scammers. Therefore, it is hard to catch these deceivers, but it is possible. So, are you interested in learning if you may be a victim of a Nigerian scammer? If so, you have come to the right place. You don’t have to be a victim anymore! Take back control of your life with these helpful suggestions.
Listed below are ways to tell if you are being scammed by a Nigerian:
Misspellings & Grammatical Errors
If your request or love letter contains multiple misspellings and grammatical errors, there is a good chance you are being duped by a Nigerian scammer. In fact, most, if not all, Nigerian scam emails use templates commonly found online, but misspell many of the words in the letter, skip words in sentences, use capital words, regardless of their position in the letter, etc. For instance, the letter may resemble the following Nigerian sample letter: Attn: Sir/Madam, Re: PAYMENT NOTIFICATION, I am MR OLUKAYODE GUEYE, Director Foreign Affairs Ministry, my office monitor and control affairs of all banks and financial institutions in country concerned with foreign payments/inheritance…”
Most, if not all, Nigerian scammers have foreign accents. More specifically, these scammers typically have an African accent. So, if you talk to a potential suitor on the phone, and notice that he or she does not have a British, American, German, or French accent – go with your gut!!! You are probably not speaking to who you think you are speaking to. Confront him or her, on the discrepancy in accent, and if he or she becomes offended or angry – stop talking to him or her all together. And, definitely do not send him or her any more money. Note: Most Nigerian scam groups mask their phone numbers, so that that the calls look like they are coming from someone in your country or the country of the person they are pretending to be. So, do not use the phone number or email account as verification that the person you are communicating with is legit. If the scammer does not mask his or her phone number, the country code will be 234 or 419.
If your new suitor is too attractive, and/or too eager to please you, you may be the victim of a Nigerian scammer. Why? Well, these individuals have a tendency of showering their victims with attention, and love-filled letters/emails. This undivided attention is sometimes all that is needed to attract people, who are grieving from a deceased partner, ex, or simply an empty nest. They also tend to prey on those, who are attention-seekers, emotionally wounded, elderly, wealthy, and disabled. If the Nigerian scammer is more interested in “business transactions,” he or she may offer you a large sum of money to perform certain actions.
For instance, a Nigerian scammer may explain to you in a letter, email, or phone call, that he or she needs your help with a funds transfer. The scammer will tell you that if you help him or her transfer money out of the country, he or she will give you a percentage of that transaction (usually to the tune of a million or more dollars). He or she will claim to be part of a government organization, and list official-sounding titles and offices – FAKE. Moreover, he or she will claim that if you tell anyone about the transaction, he or she will be hurt or killed – LIES. The problem with this offer is that it is bogus.
The scammer will tell you that he or she will send you the money for you to put into your bank account. He or she will tell you that you can keep a percentage of the money. The goal is for you to put the money (fake check) into your bank account, and draw the money out, and send it to the person you are communicating with. What happens then is that the bank notices that the check is fraudulent, after you have removed a portion of the money from your account, and sent it to the scammer. The bank holds you responsible, and you are forced to pay back the money. If you don’t pay the money back to the bank, you risk being jailed. And to top it off - you never hear from the Nigerian scammer again.
If you are contacted by someone, who you think may be a Nigerian scammer (i.e. email, text, phone call, letter, dating site message/note, etc.), ignore the communication attempts. In other words, ignore the phone calls, letters, notes, texts, etc. If you feel a little “devilish” you may want to play around with the scammer (scam-bating), until he or she stops contacting you. You should also contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation: Fraud Department and report the scam. Do not, under any circumstances, continue to engage with the individual. And, definitely do not send him or her money or gifts.
Citizen’s Advice Bureau. (2014). Four million people scammed each year. Retrieved from http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/pressoffice/press_index/press_20140501.htm
Federal Bureau of Investigations. (2015). Common fraud schemes. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud