Is that the name of a popular prince of one of the Nigerian Kingdoms? Of course not! It’s neither the name of a true prince, in fact its a name of no one. Its a Scam. Its really frightening to see or hear about people who have lost huge chunks of money to some lying chaps who tell desperate-sounding stories of people losing their homes, their family and their valuables in unjust ways. This is basically an online thing so when you keep receiving emails soliciting for financial help from unauthorized individuals, then watch it, you might be on the verge of getting swindled.
Why Nigerian Prince?
No doubt E-scam has grown rampant these days with lots of countries not only in Africa getting involved. But why is it called “Nigerian Prince” you may ask. Well like everything in life which has its origin, the scam which first started as a postal scam, is named so following the corrupt years of the Second Nigerian Republic in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, when political figures were being thrown out of office and there were rumors of rigged elections. Letters began to circulate from individuals claiming to be aristocrats and people of high status who’d lost their positions.
The sender issues a plea for you to help him move millions of dollars from his homeland into your bank account, followed by the promise of a hefty reward for your assistance. It is reported that millions of these emails are sent each year by spambots. This does not mean that the scam originated from Nigeria. In fact, the concept of Scam is rumored to be about 200 years old and the “Nigerian Prince” has itself become an internet meme with lots of people across the world getting involved. There must be some ways to identify the antics of these fraudsters. Here are some of the important things to note
1. Not all Scams Comes from Nigeria
No doubt 50 – 55% of these scam comes from Africa with the rest of the percentage coming from the western world. It is also a fact that countries like England, Spain, Ireland, USA, Canada, Netherlands and Australia among others, are increasingly getting involved in the scam. They can use notable names of companies and institutions in Nigeria or any other African country to achieve their aim. So the fact that it is called Nigerian Prince does not mean you should look out for messages from Nigeria or any other part of Africa only.
2. Scammers can be Rich Individuals
It is a public notion that some of these scammers are poor. These people can be very prosperous individuals who might even be law abiding in their various countries. Some of them operate from highly organised institutions like government organizations, banks and so on. People also believe that those who engage in scams are mostly those who really need money to solve personal needs. Though this may not be away from the fact, it is also important to know that some of these wealthy individuals might in fact appear to have no questionable character in their countries. Believe it or not, it takes money to successfully succeed in the scam business.
3. You Can be a Victim
Its quite funny to hear words like “I don’t think I can ever fall for such crap, I am not that gullible” Truth be told, victims of “Nigerian Prince” scams are not limited to corporate Vice Presidents and ex-Congressmen or even people you may consider as dumb. It is a fact that even those who considers themselves as smart can fall victim of their lies. Some even think that only those who are greedy or money conscious or even stupid can fall for such lies. But their email is an evidence of a tactically planned work that is capable of appealing to one’s sense of concern. Some can claim to be clergy men, Voluntary organizations or even a charity homes.
4. A Single Reply From You Is Enough
To help persuade the victim to agree to the deal, the scammer often sends one or more false documents bearing official government stamps, and seals and just one reply from their “Client” is good enough for them to achieve their aim. False addresses and photographs can also be taken from the Internet or from magazines to falsely represent themselves.
5. They are Hackers
Let it be known to you that most of the people engaged in this scam are learned and advanced in IT and in order to draw people’s attention they take over pre-existing ads by hacking other people’s account who are advertising houses or cars for sale or rent. They respond to the people who also reply to the ad with some arrangements that will give them room to steal from their victim.
6. You Might be Required to Leave your country
Some scammers may want you to leave your country to come to their’s if they feel the legal authorities will not allow you to perform the transaction they require. Some who fall victims can even be held hostage by the scammers who goes further to demand randsome from their families.
7. All their Stories have One Aim
While there are many different ways these fake stories are formulated, they all follow the same basic principle. You send us money, and then we will send you much more. Any time you see this formula you should immediately suspect foul play.
8. Check out the Message Errors
Researchers speculate that obvious spelling and grammatical errors in the scam letters are there for a reason: they weed out the skeptics. In theory, someone who replies to a letter with such obvious errors will be gullible enough to respond to the follow-up emails