Our Turn: Save your Naira, avoid 419 Scams
For our first project of the year at NCSS, we researched digital citizenship or being a citizen on the Internet. While I was researching the project one thing that I kept learning about was e-mail scams. Specifically four-one-nine (419) scams. 419 scams are a form of scam that usually goes something like this. First, you receive an email from someone who claims they were related to a rich person living in a foreign country, usually Nigeria, they claim that their relative recently died and inherited a large sum of money. They are usually worth millions of dollars and they want to get it out of Nigeria. If you give them around $5,000 they will give you somewhere approximately 30% of the money. At this point, most people would mark the email as spam, but according to one scammer’s estimate, 7 out of 500 people would agree to help the scammer. As the plot to get the money out of Nigeria progressed, more complications requiring even more money would arise.
One of the things that make this plot so ingenious is that the victim will continue to give money. The victim will be told to send the money through wire transfer, which is irreversible. Since the victim has already sent thousands of dollars, they will feel that they have already invested heavily in the business venture and it is in their best interest to see the plan through. If the self-proclaimed rich Nigerian finally sends a forged check over for the money, the victim will cash it in and then send the 70% they owe their “partner” via wire. This is the very worst part for the victim because when the bank realizes the check was a fake, they will immediately cancel it, but the victim will still be charged the 70% of the money that they sent over and they will end up millions of dollars in debt. I hope that this article will help you avoid 419 scams in the future, because they will cost you lots of Nigerian Naira.