Thursday, October 25, 2007

Have you heard about the Nigerian email scam?

It is so widespread that it is a mini-industry in Nigeria. Hemal Ashar traces the history of the scam email that asks for your attention — and your money The Nigerians put technology to great misuse when it comes to making money.
The thriving Great Nigerian email Scam coroborates the claim.
The scam is carried out through emails, an example of which has been given below.
Even as you read this; the conmen are improvising and coming up with new versions which have also been listed.
Here is once such version of these fraud e-mailsLagos, Nigeria.
Attention: The President/CEO
Dear Sir,
Confidential Business Proposal
Having consulted with my colleagues and based on the information gathered from the Nigerian Chambers Of Commerce And Industry, I have the privilege to request your assistance to transfer the sum of $47,500,000.00 (Forty seven million, five hundred thousand United States dollars) into your accounts.
We are now ready to transfer the funds overseas and that is where you come in. The total sum will be shared as follows: 70% for us, 25% for you and 5% for local and international expenses incidental to the transfer. We need your banker’s name, telephone, account numbers.
Best regards,Howgul Abul Arhu
Something about the emails:
* Names of prominent politicians, including Nelson Mandela are included in the scam emails.
* Another favourite is: A family member who is dying of cancer needs your ‘help’ to transfer funds out of Africa to your country. This email falls into the bracket of forgotten accounts, wills and inheritances, death-bed claims of wealth.
* "Your charity has been named as a beneficiary in the will of a wealthy Nigerian. You just need to send the necessary "proofs of identity."
* At times, it is not the promise of cash but gold and diamonds that are used to lure the victims.
* "We just sold a bunch of crude oil in Nigeria, but we have to bribe the banker to get it out." What is the Nigerian email scam? The fraud is also known as the West African Advanced Fee Fraud or the “419 fraud” — 419 being the section of the Nigerian criminal code under which such cases are booked.
A typical Nigerian scam mail promises rewards for helping transfer of funds from one location to another.
History of the scam The scam started as early as the 1920s when it was known as the Spanish Prisoner Con.
Back then conmen trying to smuggle the scion of a wealthy family out of a prison in Spain contacted businessmen.
The wealthy family heaped riches on anyone who helped in the rescue operation. In the 1980s it was carried out through letters and then by fax.
This practice evolved with time and took the shape of the Nigerian email Scam in the time of the Internet. One helpful website A site called may give you an indication of whether what you have received is a scam mail or not.
All you have to do is cut and paste the suspicious email on to the text box on the site and the site tells you whether it is safe or not. - So frequent and widespread was this scam that the Nigerian government actually put an advertisement in an US paper that warned people against such scams and dissociated itself from claims in these emails.
- Several websites have sprung up warning persons against such scams.
- Be alert and avoid being conned by such fraud emails. You should:
* Never give out your bank account number or any sensitive information.
* Not agree to travel anywhere to meet people who want you to help them transfer funds.
* Remember these aren’t petty thieves... they are hardened criminals.


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