Nigerian Email Fraud
Nigerian email riches - With the anonymity of email, comes the conman. He can make an approach to the prospect via email and even if you report the issue to the authorities, he's often gone before anything can be done. Such cons are common enough in the United States, but there have been many recent frauds that are coming from outside U.S. jurisdiction. Unless the government of the country of origin is willing to find and prosecute the perpetrators, there is little that can be done.
There are many types of fraud but some of the most lucrative ones are in medical and investment fields. One more common one is often referred to as the "Nigerian Fraud" because it originates in and purports to handle transactions based in Nigeria.
The conman sends an email to you, first asking for your absolute secrecy. He then begins to tell you a story about how there is hidden money in the politically unstable country of Nigeria that nobody knows about. It was ill-gotten in the first place and the writer wants to get it out of the country.
Even your research will bear out the conman's story. The domain that the email was sent from is in Nigeria, and they back it up with other information that you can independently verify, even the bank account number and the name of their contact at the Nigerian bank.
The conman tells you that there are millions of dollars involved and that he needs your help claiming it. In exchange for your help, you get a share of the loot, usually between 30-40%. It's simple. They will need some money to get the ball rolling, maybe $10,000 to get the paperwork filed. According to the con, this is only a percentage of the total costs and of course, they will pay the rest.
The second phase is that they will need even more money. This money is to pay bribes or some other costs. This may happen several times until you just give up.
There is no money in Nigeria for you and there never will be. Thousands of people have gotten the same email and though only a few respond, it's still pretty good cash for a Nigerian conman.
The contact at the Nigerian bank is in on it and will verify everything that the conman has told you. In some cases, the con has been so effective that American's have even gone overseas to personally work out some financial details.
Though few cases have gone that far, those Americans who have gone to Nigeria are often threatened, kidnapped, and have even been murdered.
Though there are numerous state department inquiries and requests for assistance, there has been little effort in Nigeria to stop the con or to catch the perpetrators.
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