You may have heard of the “Nigerian Prince” email scam, where the exiled Nigerian prince needs your help to smuggle lots of money out of his country and needs your help. If you fall for it, you could wind up with a compromised bank account, money stolen, identity stolen.
Scammers often take advantage of current events to make their pitches sound more convincing. Recently, a group known as Boko Haram has been making headlines for its kidnappings and other violent acts.
A colleague at Your BBB recently got an email offer that uses Boko Haram as a hook–but is essentially the same old Nigerian Prince scam we’ve come to know and love.
From Miss Binta.
It is my pleasure to contact you for a business venture which I intend to establish in your country, though I have not met with you before but I believe one has to risk confidence to succeed some times in life.
There is a huge amount of money totalling ($6.7 Million U.S. Dollars plus 14 kilos of Gold dusts and 14,220 Carate Diamond Gem stones) which my late father kept for me as the only daughter in a Security Company before he was killed by the ISLAMISTS MOVEMENT BOKO HARAM in my country Cameroon.
Now I have decided to invest this money in your country or anywhere safe enough for security reason. I want you to help me claim and retrieve this fund from the Security Company and and bring it to your country for an investment purposes in these areas below or, you can as well advice me on some profitable investments in your country.
1). Industrial productions.
2). Real estate
3). Hotel business.
If you can be of an assistance to me, please reply to my mail address [ firstname.lastname@example.org ] I will give you the full details and will be pleased to offer to you 15% of the total amount of the money.
I am waiting your soonest response.
Helpful hint: While these scams might be updated with references to current events, much of the text is usually boilerplate, used over and over. If you copy one or two lines from the message and paste it into a search engine, you’ll find lots of other people talking about the same scam. I just did that with a sentence from this email and sure enough, I found lots of discussion on forums from others who got similar email offers.
Here is some advice on how to protect yourself from the Nigerian letter scam and its variations:
- If you receive a letter from Nigeria, or any other country, asking for personal or banking information, do not reply! The BBB suggests you immediately delete or throw away any such correspondence.
- If you have already responded to such a plea, or if you know someone who is corresponding in this scheme, contact the U.S. Secret Service as soon as possible (phone: 202.406.5572 or e-mail email@example.com).
- Ignore individuals representing themselves as foreign government officials asking for your help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts.
- Be leery when strangers are eager to place unexpected, large amounts of money at your disposal, in exchange for your bank account number or other personal or financial information.
- Cashier checks and money orders can be counterfeit. When a stranger sends a check or money offer to purchase a product or service from you, consult with your bank about the time it will take to verify the check, and wait for the funds to clear.