The Nigerian ScamWritten by Richard Lowe
The Nigerian Scam letters - I'm sure you've received them in your mail and your inbox. This scam has been running for decades, and by now I would think that most people in United States have received it or heard about it in one form or another.
Often an official-looking letter arrives in mail. It is postmarked from Nigerian, has a hand-written address and letter appears to be hand typed. It begs for help and offers a handsome return for your time. And I do mean a handsome return - typically it offers over a million dollars for simple favor of using your bank account to transfer some money.
Don't even think about responding - this is a scam of worst sort. There are people who have lost their entire life savings because they called phone number and let their greed kick in and left their brains at home.
Sometimes this scam arrives in your email - an example email is included below (note this is a scam - do not try and respond to it).
-------------------------------------------------------- LADY MARYAM ABACHA ABACHA COURT GIDADO ROAD KANO-NIGERIA THE PRESIDENT/CEO
I am Lady Maryam Abacha, wife of late General Sani Abacha, Ex-military Head of states of Federal Republic of Nigeria who died on 8th June 1998 of heart problems. l contacted you because of my need to deal with persons whom my family and l have had no previous personal relationships. Since death of my husband, my family had been subjected to all sorts of harassment's and intimidation with lots of negative report emanating from government and press about my husband. The present government has also ensured that our bank accounts are frozen and all assets seized. It is in view of this that I seek your cooperation and assistance in transfer of sum of US$30,000,000.00 (Thirty Million United States Dollars only) being very last of my family fund in my possession and control. An earlier attempt in physical movement of sum of US$47,000,000.00 was to avail as money was confiscated and my International passport impounded at Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos in August 1998.The Federal Government has seized all our properties and frozen all our accounts both local and International, but my only hope now is availableUS$30,000,000.00 which l carefully packed and deposited with a security company as photographic materials where my brother-in-law is working as a General manager when my husband died. If you are willing to assist us in receiving this money on our behalf, please contact my brother-in-law Alhaji Buba Abacha immediately on following Telephone Number DELETED or EMAIL-DELETED@TOPROTECTYOU.COM to discuss details and negotiate your reward, which l can assure you, will be very substantial .Please, ensure to keep this proposal very secret and confidential. We await your immediate response. Maa Salaam. Sincerely, LADY MARYAM ABACHA. --------------------------------------------------------
Scams and Frauds: 809 Area CodeWritten by Richard Lowe
The scammers always amaze me at how clever they can be at separating normal, honest people from their money. Who would have thought that simply calling a simple phone number could cost a hundred dollars or more in fraudulent phone charges?
This scam works this way. You receive an email, letter, or some other communication which seeks to convince you to call a number in 809 area code. The message is always urgent (that's a common theme of virtually all scams - they have to happen NOW) and appears important or critical.
You may receive a spam email which says something like, "You have 24 hours to settle your outstanding debt before it is sent to collections. Call me now at 809-xxx-xxxx to preserve your credit." Call number and you will be billed as much as $25 per minute!
Some people receive a postcard which states, "You have won! Call 809-xxx-xxxx to get your prize." Call number and you will get your prize all right - a $150 charge on your phone bill!
I've heard of someone that received an ICQ message saying their relative was in hospital with a terminal illness. The poor person called "809" number only to be put on hold for a very long time - over an hour, then get hung up. He called over and over, frantic and distraught - and got a phone bill of over a thousand dollars!
A very clever variant to this scam is a company that receives a FAX or phone call requesting of all things a fax. Of course, fax number is in 809 area code. The company will fax some information back, and get charged over a hundred dollars for privilege!