scam still circulating
- Be aware that these scams are well known. They
used to be called "Nigerian letters" because they came
by mail, but now these messages also come by phone, fax or e-mail.
- These promises are never true. The purpose of the
scam is to get money out of your bank account, not to put money
- Once you are on the hook, they'll never let you
go. You will be asked for a never-ending series of payments for
"transfer fees," "legal expenses," and other
- Be wary of offers to send you an "advance"
on your "commission." Some con artists use this ploy
to build trust and to get money from your bank. They send you
a check for part of your "commission," instructing you
to deposit it and then wire payment to them for taxes, bonding,
or some other phony purpose. The bank tells you the check has
cleared because the normal time has passed to be notified that
checks have bounced. After you wire the money, the check that
you deposited finally bounces because it turned out to be an elaborate
fake. Now the crooks have your payment, and you're left owing
your bank the amount that you withdrew.
- Never provide your bank account or other financial
information. This information can be used to withdraw money from
- Don't agree to travel anywhere to meet these people.
They avoid coming to the United States because they fear arrest.
Instead, they sometimes try to lure victims to meet them in Africa
or other places overseas. Victims have been robbed and even murdered.
- Remember that these are hardened criminals. According
to the Secret Service, these crooks use the money they make on
this scam to finance other illegal activities such as drug dealing
and credit card fraud.
- If they get your money, you'll never get it back.
It's very difficult to bring these crooks to the United States
for trial, and action is rarely taken against them in their own
countries. However, it's still helpful to report actual or attempted
Nigerian money-offer scams to law enforcement agencies.
Source: National Consumers League
-- Posted: July 3, 2002