How does it work?
The prospective victim (you?) - is offered a substantial amount of money, between a few millions and, in one case U$D 150,000,000. These funds are (supposedly) obtained from a variety of sources - accounting errors, heritages, contracts, dead functionaries, even - seriously - from robberies... All invented, of course.
The innocent victim (the e-mail recipient), is convinved that he has been selected as the only person in the worlds reliable enough to help out, and is offered a reward of 10 to 30% of the amount, simply for the permission to use his/hers account to transfer the money.
Of course, it's not that easy: before actually getting the transfer some last-minute expenses arrise (minimal, of course). The victim is asked to pay smallish (between 5,000 and 50,000 dollars generally) amount for differente reasons: payoffs, lawyer expenses, bribes, airplane tickets etc. Such insignificant amounts compared with the millions to come...
Once paid, either nothing is heard ever gain from the the promised treasure, or the perpetrator actually tries to get even more money out of the victim. It's surprising how many people actually continue paying... In some cases, even appointments are made between both parties to meet personally, or to realize payments at banks. The preferences seem to be banks in Holland or Great Britain - London.
The great majority of these scams seem to originate really from Nigeria, even though they pretend to come from other origens such as Philipines, Congo, Zimbabwe and others. In some cases, it has been shown that the mails have been sent from the United States or Great Britain.
The volume of the fraud is staggering: The US Secret Service estimates a yearly loss of over 100 million dollars to this kind of scam, and opened a local branch in Lagos, Nigeria to combat the crime. Great Britain estimates 13 million dollars of loss, yearly. Some organizations estimate this scam to be Nigeria's second source of national income!
The number 419 originates from the Nigerian penal code articles prohibiting this fraud (requesting funds under false pretext).
As always - Never click on any of the links in this kind of mails, never answer them, even to complain - they are always looking for people who read their mail! Of course - never tell them you credit card number, telephone or fax number (yes they really call you!), etc...
|(c) John Coppens ON6JC/LW3HAZ|