Nigerian Scam – A new version of the infamous Nigerian scam is going viral

Have you been contacted by someone in Nigeria asking for your help transferring funds out of the country? If so, then you are one of thousands of people around the world, including doctors, lawyers, engineers and professors, who have been the target of what is sometimes referred to as “Nigerian Letter Scam” or “Nigerian Advance Payment Scam” . Although “Nigeria” is its name, the scam is international. You may also receive letters or emails pretending to be from another country.

Australians are estimated to lose $2.5 million a month to Nigerian scams!

how the scam works Scams vary, but typically you will receive a letter, or more commonly a fax or email, offering you a business “advice” or a deal.

Nigerian scams typically involve a letter or email from someone overseas claiming to need help moving large sums of money.They are usually willing to give most of the money in exchange for bank account details

Once hooked, you will be required to pay various “upfront fees” (e.g. duties, taxes, bribes, legal fees) to facilitate the transfer.

Of course, no wealth is transferred, they just use your bank account details to withdraw your hard-earned money from your account.

New version of notorious Nigerian scam spreading via email Nigerian scam letters are everywhere, with slightly different names and different scam stories. Regardless of the name used, the position claimed, or the fabricated story, these get-rich-quick offers are fraudulent and result in nothing but lost time and money, and the terrible feeling of knowing you’ve been duped.

Below we list some of the latest versions of Nigerian scams in circulation:

  1. Requires a bank account to deposit large sums of money. The scam asks victims to give them permission to use their bank account so that a large sum of money can be deposited. Initial contact with victims is through mass generated emails. The funds offered could have come from secret bank accounts, unexpected inheritances, overpaid government contracts or “forgotten sums” left in Nigerian banks. In each case, a series of fees and charges are required before the money is deposited into the victim’s bank account before the money can be released, for example. Taxes, attorney fees, etc. Even though victims make large payments to individuals in different countries, there are always delays that prevent remittances and require further payments. A key element of this scam is that the victim must keep the money transfer confidential.
  2. business opportunity. Businesses may receive requests from Nigerians posing as public officials for the opportunity to participate in major business activities in Nigeria. The most common examples involve projects in the oil sector in Nigeria, although there are others in the telecommunications sector. The offer would involve a very large financial reward and would require the victim to contribute funds as part of the Nigerian contract. All payments require a wire transfer through a money transfer agency such as Western Union in amounts between $5,000.00 and $10,000.00. Examples of money requests include: legal fees, taxes, money transfer fees, etc. In each case, money needed to be sent to numerous individuals in countries as diverse as Benin, Togo, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
  3. online relationship. The scam targets victims who meet through internet dating sites, chat rooms or instant messaging services. A fraudster may appear in one of several ways, including:* Australian citizens in Nigerian hospitals – A common scenario begins with the victim chatting online with an Australian citizen living in Nigeria. Communications stopped abruptly until they were contacted by a “Nigerian doctor” who said their friend had been in a car accident and needed money to pay for emergency surgery. Victims hoping to help their friends began sending money to Nigeria through money transfer agencies such as Western Union, and with each remittance sent further requests for more funds. * Internet romance – In an online dating scam, scammers claim they wish to travel to Australia but need help paying for airfare, visa fees or passport fees. Once those payments are paid, the fraudsters demand more money to pay their local taxes, home hospital bills and other expenses. In each case, the fraudsters said they missed their flights to Australia and demanded that more money be sent to Nigeria to cover further airfare costs. Fraudsters continue this scam until the victim runs out of money or refuses to send any more money to Nigeria.
  4. Fraudulent check/credit card fraud. The scam targets small business owners and people who fall for online dating scams. In this example, the fraudster asks for the goods to be sent to him in Nigeria and sends a bank check to pay for the goods. The check is usually from a foreign bank for an amount in excess of the value of the goods plus shipping. Victims also pay for all shipping costs and send the balance of funds to the fraudsters using money transfer systems such as Western Union. When the check was deposited into the victim’s Australian bank account, it may have initially been zeroed, depending on the quality of the forgery. This provides the victim with assurance that the check represents value for money, and they purchase the goods and send them to Nigeria. Weeks later, the check was confirmed to be fraudulent, and the victim ended up paying for the entire transaction. Credit card fraud involves fraudsters contacting Australian businesses and demanding the purchase of goods or services. These orders are often significantly higher than what businesses typically receive, which can appear to be a windfall for business owners.
  5. Accommodation providers are frequently asked to provide quotes for Nigerian delegates seeking to attend Queensland for business reasons and wishing to book accommodation and conference facilities. After making an offer, the fraudster provides a list of credit cards to use for payment. Provide a backup credit card number if the card is not activated. After payment is made, fraudsters cancel accommodations and meetings and demand the return of funds via money transfer services such as Western Union. Once the business returns the money, the credit card company may notify them that the transaction was fraudulent and the business must return the money.

  6. Charity scam. Charity scams are different from other Nigerian scams because victims do not seek anything in return. Fraudsters seek out victims on church-related websites and chat rooms, looking for people who make regular donations to themselves to run a particular charity. The scammers pose as “priests” or “priests” who run orphanages or churches, and desperately seek funds. No method is provided to determine whether the charity actually exists, or whether the person seeking funds is who they represent.

what can you do?

  • never reply.
  • Throw the quote in the trash or delete the email.
  • Don’t follow their advice and forward it to your friends, because you will only cause trouble for them.
  • Never give out your bank account number or other personal details to unauthorized persons.
  • If you yourself are caught, or if you come across any evidence of Australian involvement in this scam, please contact your state or territory police.

Don’t Be the Latest Victim of These Scams

Not only are they illegal, but they can also be life-threatening, as there have been unconfirmed reports in the past of people with healthy bank accounts being flown overseas to meet crooks in first class, only to be kidnapped and held for ransom immediately upon arrival.

When a scam occurs overseas it is outside our jurisdiction so the Office of Fair Trading cannot investigate or assist if you find yourself losing money.

Consumers are also warned to beware of other scams, including fake donation requests, fake bank emails, fake lotteries, chain letters, pyramid schemes, envelope stuffing schemes and invoice fraud.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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