There are a lot of bad scams to be found on the internet, but the Nigerian email swindles (also known as Advance Fee Fraud) are particularly devious. They’re certainly the most pervasive, with the United States losing an estimated $100 million a year through their malfeasance. They usually involve a low-ranking cabinet member who needs to get rid of a lot of cash in a hurry, and has just “happened” by sheer amazing coincidence to stumble upon the email holder in question. Here’s an example:
Dear Kindest Sir,
Having consulted with my colleagues in the Nigerian Chambers Of Commerce, I have the privilege to offer the transfer of $47,500,000.00 into your bank account. The above sum is the result of an over-invoiced contract that was commissioned and paid for by a foreign contractor over five years ago. This action was intentional, and has since been sitting in a suspense account at The Central Bank Of Nigeria Apex Bank.
I am now ready to transfer the funds overseas, and that is where you, my dear friend, come in. Civil servants are forbidden to operate foreign accounts, so I have sought out someone from your country who I believe to have impeccable morals. You! The total sum will be shared as follows: 70% for us, 25% for you and 5% for bribes incidental to the transfer.
The transfer is completely risk free on both sides! Really! I am a minister at the Nigerian International Trade Works In Transit, and if you find this proposal acceptable, please send me your bank account number, a photocopy of your driver’s license, your birth certificate, your telephone number, your PayPal password, every one of your credit card numbers (including the three digit sequence at the back), and a piece of letter-headed stationary that is stamped and signed.
Now, to any person with a modicum of intelligence, it’s pretty obvious that something fishy is going on here, but it turns out there’s a lot of people lacking said modicum who have lost their life savings to these scams. There are even a few people that have traveled all the way to Nigeria in order to pick up their money, only to be kidnapped by the spammers and ransomed back to their families. They normally wouldn’t be able to afford the payment, but they just heard about a great land deal in Florida that practically guarantees triple returns!
Variations on Advance Fee Fraud include:
– Charity Scams (Let’s exploit a horrible tragedy by swindling the charity!)
– Death in the Family Scams (Aunt Gertie died and I need an overseas account to get the inheritance!)
– Lottery Scams (I won the lottery but need help transferring the money!)
– Hitman Scams (Someone hired me to kill you but I won’t if you send me cash!)
-Stranded Missionary Scams (I’m trapped abroad and I need funds to get out of this godforsaken country!)
– Fraud Recovery Scams (Did you lose money to a Nigerian Email Scam? We’re here to help!)