How to Spot the Nigerian Letter Scam – “419 Scam”

Typically, foreigners trying to pull off a Nigerian Letter Scam may give you a cut of a significant sum of money or a bribe in exchange for helping them move money out of Nigeria. Since their inception in Nigeria, these frauds have spread globally.

The Nigerian letter scam, also known as advance fee fraud or “419 fraud,” is a scheme in which a sender requests help facilitating the illegal transfer of money. The letter may be sent by mail, fax, or email—the most common method. The author is typically a self-proclaimed government or military official, bank officer, or business executive, who explains they need access to a foreign account to transfer money out of Nigeria.

In exchange, the sender offers the recipient a commission—sometimes up to several million dollars, depending on the perceived gullibility of the target. The scammers then request money to pay for some of the costs associated with the transfer, such as taxes, legal fees, and bribes to government officials. If the scammers are successful in receiving money, they will either disappear immediately or try to get more money with claims of additional transfer problems.

How does Nigerian Letter Scam work

The fraudster will initiate contact by using unexpected means of communication, including social media, email, postal, or SMS.
Before requesting money transfer services, the con artist elaborates on a claim that large sums of money have been frozen in banks as a result of civil wars or military takeovers in nations that are now in the news. Alternately, they could admit to receiving a sizable inheritance that is “impossible to achieve” in their country because of laws or taxes. The scam artist would then give you a substantial sum of money and ask you to help them send their fortune overseas through a mobile money transfer service.

These frauds are often referred to as “Nigerian 419 scams,” but all they involve is an internet money transfer. Named after Section 419 of Nigeria’s Criminal Code, which outlaws such conduct. Most individuals today ask where they may get a money transfer from because scammers operate worldwide. Money transfer services are a common vector for con artists to solicit victims’ banking information under the guise of “helping them with the transfer.


However, the con artists can later utilize the victim’s account information to take their money. Additionally, they may ask you to pay particular charges, levies, or taxes to your bank in order to “assist in the release or transfer of monies out of the country.” These expenses, even if they only amount to a few dollars or an online money transfer, can rapidly mount up.
In the event that you fall for the con, the con artist will add extra fees to your money transfer before providing you any prizes. If you use a money transfer provider to send them money, they will keep requesting more. It will never be possible to get you the promised money. The Nigerian Scam in brief.

What the Scammers Are Looking for

Nigerian letter scammers think that their offers of commissions would be alluring enough to persuade recipients to take the chance of transferring thousands of dollars to an unknown recipient. The con artist may claim that the transfer is necessary because the government is attempting to freeze (or seize) their accounts, or else that the money is held captive by war, corruption, or political upheaval. The person may claim they must have your bank account information immediately in order to transfer the funds for safekeeping.

Of course, keep in mind that anything that seems too good to be true generally is when it came to this kind of request. Nigerian letter scams still thrive because it just takes a small percentage of victims—out of millions of attempts—to be duped for it to be profitable for the con artists.

Signs to look out for

You get a contact unexpectedly requesting that you ‘help’ somebody from another nation move cash out of their Country (for example, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, or Iraq) and send money through international money transfer if you know how to transfer money from one bank to another.

The solicitation incorporates a long and frequently tragic anecdote concerning why the proprietor can’t move the cash. This regularly includes some contention or legacy, and they might need to move the cash straight into your record using the best way to transfer money internationally. You are offered a monetary prize, like an offer in the sum, for assisting them with getting to their ‘caught’ reserves.

The measure of cash to be moved, and the installment that the con artist vows to you if you help, is generally massive transfers. They will guarantee that a bank, attorney, government office, or other association requires a few expenses to be paid before the cash can be moved. The trickster will frequently request that you make installments for the charge through a cash move administration.

Take precautions.

Never send money to someone you don’t know or trust. Please Do not give them your credit card numbers, online account information, or copies of personal documents. Avoid any transaction with a stranger that requires payment in advance via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card, or electronic currency such as Bitcoin if you know how to send money internationally using an international money transfer app.

Money sent this way is highly difficult to recover. Do not consent to move money on behalf of another person. Money laundering is a serious crime. If unsure, seek independent guidance from someone you know and trust. Verify the contact’s identity by calling the appropriate company directly – identify them via an independent source such as a phone book or an online search if they appear to be from a specific organization. Do not contact the sender using the information contained in the letter.

Check the internet for any references to a scam using the names, contact numbers, or exact wording of the letter/email – many scams can be detected this way. If you believe it’s a scam, don’t respond; scammers can use a personal touch to manipulate your emotions. There are no get-rich-quick schemes, so if anything sounds too good to be true, it is. Overview of the Nigerian Scam.

Do be skeptical of any promise of a huge payoff for your cooperation in a fund-transfer scheme. Do contact your local FBI or U.S. Secret Service field office if you or someone you know has become enmeshed in a 419 scam. Don’t reply, even out of curiosity, to emails (or any form of communication) from someone representing himself or herself as a foreign government or business official who needs help transferring a large sum of money. Don’t provide personal or financial information to anyone making such an appeal. Don’t agree to send money by wire transfer, international fund transfer, cash-reload card or cryptocurrency to a stranger who approaches you online.




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