My name is Danjuma Sule, one of the sons of major Gen Gumel Danjuma Sule, The late Nigeria’s former minister of mines and power in the regime of the late former Nigeria’s military Head of state, Gen Sanni Abacha. I am having a huge sum of money in the total sum of $18.6Million presently hidden in a safe place –
Sounds familiar? Maybe the words are different, but the contents are almost always the same. A complete stranger writes to you, and offers a large sum of money in the form of unclaimed foreign lottery winnings, a business investment, or a transfer of illegally-obtained funds. If at this point you express interest, they’d inform you they might need a little advance to handle transactions before you receive your money. Occasionally they will present official-looking documents and ask for your bank account information, as if guaranteeing you will receive the money – but you never do.
This type of advance fee scam is often called the Nigerian 419 scam, after the law it violates in that country. Though purporting to come from Nigeria, a number of these scammers now originate from Europe and America. They send thousands of e-mails hoping one or two might bite, and strange as it might sound, people do fall for these schemes.
At first it might not seem like this is an IT security issue, but the whole operations of these scammers rely on the Internet. They can create a new identity online with a few keystrokes, photos and addressed acquired off a search engine, and a free e-mail account. They’ve recently moved on to targetting online auctions, and credit card fraud. Some have even began searching for victims through popular dating services, but they cannot be traced unless they’re reported to the proper government offices. Statistics on this kind of crime is very unreliable due to the large number of cases that go unreported every year. A modest estimate has each scammer getting thousands of dollars per month. At this point you can use the technology on hand so you do not become a victim of these scams. Use search engines to verify if they are who they claim they are, familiarize yourself with their techniques, and always be constantly vigilant.