Case study: Nigerian Emergency S.c.a.m
Traditionnal Nigerian Scam
Most of you have received an email from a member of a Nigerian family with wealth. It is a desperate cry for help in getting a very large sum of money out of the country. A common variation is a woman in Africa who claimed that her husband had died and that she wanted to leave millions of dollars of his estate to a good church. This is known as the Nigerian scam, and also as the « 4-1-9 » (which refers to the section of Nigerian Criminal Code that deals with fraud) and the « Advance Fee Scam. »
In every variation, the scammer is promising obscenely large payments for small unskilled tasks. This scam, like most scams, is too good to be true, yet people still fall for this money transfer con game.
They will use your emotions and willingness to help against you. They will promise you a large cut of their business or family fortune. All you are asked to do is cover the endless “legal” and other “fees” that must be paid to the people that can release the fictional fortune.
The more you pay, the more they will scam out of you. You will never see any of the promised money because there isn’t any. This scam is not even new; its variant dates back to 1920s when it was known as « The Spanish Prisoner » . To avoid this scam, ignore it and delete the email.
Once this came became widely known, it immediately evolved and continues to evolve even today. It now takes a very wide variety of forms including the elderly sick person looking to transfer their entire estate into your bank account.
Then there is one of my personal favorites, the young woman in danger who is seeking a savior to help her – and of course she has a very large sum of money to offer as a reward. Here is an email from “Miss Diana” of West Africa, who has a DC worth $5.9 million, and is seeking to escape her country and live in the United States.
The scammers put together storylines and plots that appeal to the basic human emotions of greed, goodwill and love. In some cases they almost always reference God in some way – in an effort to appeal to western Christian values. In the end, the many variations of the Nigerian scam end in only one place if you offer up any of your contact information or, even worse, your bank account information – an empty bank account.