Computing & Technology
If it sounds to good
to be true... it's probably a scam!
by: Nowshade Kabir
Although this scam has its
root from Nigeria dated a decade back, nowadays, you receive
similar scam letters from many African countries, notably,
Nigeria, Benin, Togo and even South Africa.
The subject lines of these
emails are pretty similar. Something like: Business relationship,
Urgent Assistance needed, Soliciting for your assistance,
A cry for help etc. Most of the emails from this scam
begin in the same way. Here are two excerpts from most
recent emails that we received:
"I am Engr Moses Ekpen
a director in the budget and planning department of the
Federal Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (FMPNR),
I had a seven man Tenders Board Committee in charge of
contract award and Payment approvals. I came to know of
you in my search for a reliable and reputable person to
handle a very confidential transaction, which involves
the transfer of a huge sum of money to a foreign account."
"I am Mrs. Mariam Abacha,
the widow of Gen. Sani Abacha, The Late Nigerian Military
Head of State. You were introduced to me through the Chamber
of Commerce. I am presently in distress and under House
arrest while my son Mohammed is undergoing trial in Lagos
and Abuja. He is presently detained in prison custody.
The government has frozen all the family account and auctioned
all our properties.
To save the family from total
bankruptcy I have managed to ship to Europe and Asia through
a Shipping company, the sum of US20, 000,000.00 respectively
kept by my late husband."
The essence of these emails
are also basically the same – the person although
does not know you, thanks to your business reputation,
has decided to contact you with a very confidential proposal
to transfer a mind boggling amount of money from his country
to any foreign land.
There could be numerous stories
but the bottom line is they require your help to transfer
the amount. For your service they will promise you something
from 10 to 40% of the whole amount. There would be a telephone
no or an email address to contact the person.
You may wonder how they swindle
There are various ways that
the crooks rip off their victims. Some of the most commons
ones of them are described below:
They will ask you to open
a bank account under their name. On their second step,
they will ask you to deposit a sum of say US$ 10000 to
that account, explaining if the account does not have
any decent amount, the officials those who are responsible
for transferring the promised millions of dollars would
become suspicious and won’t authorize the transaction.
Once you deposited the asked sum, they simply withdraw
it and disappear. Usually they choose a bank where they
might have some connections. So you, after losing your
money, do not get any help from the bank either.
They will ask you to send
some merchandize or gifts for the officials they need
to bribe in order to make the transactions of the assumed
millions of dollars smoothly. Naturally, you never hear
from them once you sent the requested gifts to their address.
We even heard stories like
this one: A man was persuaded to come to Nigeria to look
after the transaction by himself. Over there he was kept
hostage until he shifted all his liquid assets to the
Looking at the increasing
quantity of scam emails that we receive, this only convinces
that many fall for this seemingly simple trap. According
to FBI these swindlers have defrauded millions of dollars
from gullible people.
There could be other variations
of this scam, next time you read an email that feels suspicious,
just delete it! There are other ways of making money!
Some words of cautions! Although
most of these scams originate from African countries,
please do not generalize and consider that all companies
form these countries are bad. As usual a few people are
responsible for tarnishing the reputation of a country.
About The Author
Nowshade Kabir, Ph.D., is
the founder, primary developer and present CEO, of Rusbiz.com,
a global business to business e-commerce portal with feature
like storefronts, aggregated catalog, e-marketplace, trade
leads, internal messaging system supply chain solutions,
etc. With a doctorate in Information Technology, Dr. Kabir
has worked an advisor to government projects and has over
12 years experience in International Trade. An author
of many B2B and business related articles; he publishes
a bi-weekly E-zine for online business community. You
can subscribe to his newsletter free of charge from http://www.rusbiz.com.