First thing’s first. Nigerian email scams, although originally from Nigeria, now come from countries across the globe.
In this post, we will take a look at exactly what Nigerian email scams involve and the warning signs that will help you to avoid being sucked in by scammers.
What are Nigerian email scams?
As you can guess from their name, the first thing that you are likely to receive when someone is trying to con you in this manner is an email.
Scammers could also contact you via social media and even through text messages to your mobile phone.
The message may tell you a tale about why a person apparently needs your help to transfer a large sum of money out of their country. In return for your assistance, the scammer promises that they will be happy to give you a share of the money.
The fraudster may ask for your bank account details (and use them to steal your money) or even request that you pay fees to help them out, promising that they will make it worth your while later.
Needless to say, the common end to all of these scams is that you will never see the promised money.
Alarm bell one: “I need your help to transfer some money out of my country”
If you receive contact from anyone that you don’t know, asking you to help them transfer money out of their country, alarm bells should start ringing.
This is a key feature of Nigerian email scams.
Reasons as to why the person contacting you is unable to do this themselves can often be sad and upsetting.
Remember, these stories are designed to pull at your heartstrings and to make you act. It is human nature to want to help those in need.
Be alert to the fact that this is exactly how these scams work.
Alarm bell two: “I will transfer the money straight into your account”
Seems so trusting, right? That they would trust a stranger to take care of their money, just to get it outside of their home country, must mean that they are very desperate.
Plus, if they are saying they will transfer you money, not the other way round, what could go wrong?
This is exactly what they want you to think. However, when you give them your bank details, they could use them to steal your money.
Be aware of anyone who has contacted you online, asking to put money into your account.
Alarm bell three: “You can keep a percentage of the money for your troubles”
Be under no illusions – there is no money for you to earn a share of.
Offering to give you a percentage of their money, for helping them to get their money out of a country, should always act as a red warning flag that you are being conned.
Alarm bell four: “I need you to pay a small fee for me before I can move the money”
Never transfer any money to someone you have only met online.
If you pay the fee, in all likelihood, the scammer would just ask for more.
And one thing is for sure – you would never see your money (or your promised payment) again.
Know how to spot and avoid Nigerian email scams
Nigerian email scams have been successful for two main reasons: the promise of money for doing very little and the stories that have been constructed by the scammers to make us want to part with our cash.
Spotting Nigerian email scams is simple when you know what you are looking for.
Never transfer money to anyone that you have only met online.
Similarly, never give out your bank details (or any personal details for that matter).
Do not pay fees to help someone that you have never met ‘free-up’ their cash.
If you are in doubt of who you are dealing with when you receive a message, do a quick internet search to find out more. By copying and pasting the email text, or the name of the person who has sent you the email, into Google, you may uncover a scam.
Lastly, ensure that you delete the email and do not respond. Once you have started conversing with a scammer and begun to build a relationship with them, they will use this to try and persuade you to send cash or to give them your bank details.