How Nigerian scams work
Known as a 419 or Nigerian money transfer scam, this type of crime is an advance fee fraud. It generally comes in the form of a plea for help. The headline of the email often describes a desperate situation that a Nigerian, or individual from another African country, now find themselves in. They request that you send them a certain amount of money to help them out of their situation. Frequently, they claim they have millions of dollars tucked away in an account they cannot access and need money to pay fees and bribes in order for their funds to flow freely. That is where the scam begins.
The scam artist claims that once an individual invests money to pay the needed bribes and fees, he or she will receive a massive return on investment once the funds are freed. Once an individual invests money into the scam it is difficult to simply walk away. New fees are incurred, and the con artist claims that only a bit more money is necessary for them to receive a return on their investment. And so it goes on.
The number 419 simply refers to the part of the Nigerian Criminal Code which deals with fraud.
The emotional and financial impact of the Nigerian scam
Although this scam can seem obvious, many individuals fall victim to it – including intelligent people like lawyers. The emotional repercussions include guilt, frustration, and stress. There are even a few documented cases of murder where a scam victim was lured to Nigeria and was kidnapped and held for ransom.
Needless to say, the financial repercussions are also immense. Tens of thousands of dollars can be sunk into these scams, in the false hope that a payoff is just around the corner.
Don’t get scammed
The private eyes at Melbourne Investigations can help you identify scam artists and secure your finances by following the paper trail where the scam originated. We are trained to recognise scams, and can advise you on how to respond. If you are concerned, contact us today.
Regardless, never send anyone funds over the internet that you have no previous interaction with. It’s the safest way to avoid con artist scams.