In a society like ours, where the poverty level is so high, due to the gross mismanagement of affairs, and lack of inventiveness by our youths, it is quite inevitable that crime will be a popular alternative.
One form of crime which has greeted Nigerians and the whole world over the turn of the past decade is online scamming or online fraud (take your pick); also popularly known in Nigeria as Yahoo or 419. From the advent of the internet fraudulent individuals have used this new form of technology to commit all sorts of criminal activities.
Nigeria, has battled hard to combat this scourge but these efforts seem like the proverbial case of emptying a sea with a spoon. These youths (popularly known as yahoo boys), come up with new improved tricks with which they swindle unsuspecting Nigerians and even foreigners.
In fact, Europeans have a name for the Nigerian scam known as “A Nigerian Prince”. Online scammers usually capitalize on the greedy (get-rich-quick) mentality of individuals to defraud them of huge sums of money.
Pull back your chair and read on as we expose the top 10 tricks used by Nigerian online scammers.
1. Text message scam
This trick has become quite popular in the country, but it’s funny that people still fall prey to it. Generally, what these scammers do is, they manage to get the mobile numbers of millions of citizens in the country; then they use any of the numerous bulk SMS service to send targeted text messages containing all sorts of lies to innocent Nigerians.
Some of these messages, tell you that you’ve won one promo or the other. Some might say that your bank account has issues or that you didn’t complete one registration or the other. Usually there’s a number inserted in the text message which you are directed to call for further confirmation.
At least 90% of Nigerians now know that these messages are from scammers but there’s still the 10% who are still in the dark; that’s why these scam messages keep coming.
2. Money laundering scam
Like we said earlier, these yahoo boys (scammers) capitalize on greed to scam people. Imagine receiving an email like the one below:
“SUBJECT: I NEED YOUR TRUST AND HELP FOR A MEGA DEAL”
My name is Barrister Femi Fani Kayode, I work for the federal government of Nigeria, you can google my name to know more. A friend of yours named James gave me your email as someone who we can trust, and someone who can be as discreet as possible for this deal.
We need to use your bank account to stash 200 million naira for the next 3 months while our office undergoes an audit. After this period, 15% of the money is yours. Reply this email if you are interested.
FFK ni JFK ko! If you reply any email that looks like the one above, then you’re hooked on a scam that might end up leaving you broke and suicidal.
Any email asking for your help, trust and assistance in moving large sums of money is definitely from scammers.
3. Hyperlinks scam
Hyperlinks scams are quite on the rampage nowadays. Cyber criminals know how we much we love to click links to know more and hence have capitalized on this to swindle unsuspecting individuals.
These scammers send emails which could tell you that your bank account has just been debited, or need updating, “click this link to secure your account or update your record”.
You could also get an email telling you that a friend just sent you money, “click here to claim”. It could come in form of a greeting card message on your birthday requesting you to click a link to see a picture of yourself as a kid etc.
If you click any of such links, you become vulnerable to phishing scams: -this is a situation where cyber criminals discreetly collect sensitive information you submit on a websites.
Do not click on any link on your email from an unknown sender. If it is an email from your bank, call your bank helpline or visit your bank for confirmation instead of clicking such links.
4. Antivirus and software scam
I used to think I was immune to scam until I fell for this one. Well played guys! 🙂 – Oneofus
In a bid to get your PC or mobile phone more secure, you could fall deep into the hands of online scammers. Generally what they do is; they send emails, post splash advertisements on websites you visit or develop flash pop-ups telling you that your device is infected with a virus, and then encourage you to download an antivirus.
Others might encourage you to download a software which does one thing or the other. What you don’t know is that these software are powerful malwares known as keyloggers which have the ability of sending everything you type to a server somewhere else.
Online scammers use this method to retrieve credit card information, passwords, and other private information which could be used against such an individual.
5. Phone call scam
Online scammers have developed a trick in which they obtain the phone number of a victim, either from Facebook, phishing, or via an accomplice who know the victim. They then try to clone the voice of a close relative using a computer software, with this, they call the victim requesting for immediate money transfer to a bank account, usually to meet a pressing need.
Before doing this, they often find a way of limiting the victim’s access to such a relative, so as to prevent the victim from corroborating the story. They do this either by first calling the relative as a service operator and making them switch off their phone or by convincing the victim not to call the relative due to one reason or the other.
Don’t ever fall for this trick.
6. Facebook scam
Facebook scams are more of identity theft than any other. Online fraudsters create an identical facebook account with the same name and information as a random user who is probably rich, popular or a top government official.
These scammers then go ahead to chat with unsuspecting friends on the user’s friends list. This usually ends in the fraudster making some financial requests which are mostly met by gullible victims.
“I am Obasanjo I needs your help because my account is frosen, I will pay you back with 100% interests…”
7. Assassin scam
Online scammers alias yahoo boys can sometimes send threat emails to individuals. An example is the email below:
One of your many enemies have paid me $10,000 to put an end to your life. You can turn the table in 24hours by beating his price. Divulging this information to anyone else especially the police will end in a cruel death. Bewarned!!!!
The scammers might then attach pictures they have gotten from the victim’s social network page to the email. Immediately the victim sees this email, they are gripped by intense fear and quickly pay the money.
8. Online transfer scam
Usually these online scammers find a way of communicating to some individuals who have huge sums of money in their account, either from Nigeria or abroad. They convince the victim that they need to use the victim’s bank account to send money down to their Nigerian account or any other bank account. The victim agrees without suspicion. The scammers, working with some IT gurus then perform a dummy transfer to the victim’s account. The victim is then prompted to transfer the money after getting a credit alert.
In less than 48 hours the victim realizes that no money actually came into their account and that they have been swindled, by this time it will be too late. Online transfer scam sometimes run into hundreds of thousands of dollars (millions of naira).
9. Housing and vehicle scam online
These yahoo boys sometimes go the length of creating fake property and vehicle selling websites. Unsuspecting victims log on to these websites and view incredible houses and vehicles which are quite affordable. A victim then goes ahead to pay for these cheap houses or vehicles; of course you know what happens next.
A friend once told me about his colleague who paid 4 million naira for a property he saw online, only to discover that such property never existed…that one na real jazz or mugu
10. Dating scam
Dating scam is the oldest scam in the book of yahoo boys. They’ve dubbed this scam the “Freestyle”. Usually, what these cyber criminals do is create an account with multiple dating websites where they pose as someone else; usually, as an attractive woman. Their aim is to get a vulnerable and unsuspecting single lady or guy who is looking for love to fall in love with them.
As soon as they get a victim, they chat with the victim for months to gain the victim’s trust and then go ahead to start making financial demands after cooking up all sorts of lies as to why they can’t meet face to face.
If Nigerian youths (yahoo boys…and girls) have gained worldwide recognition for their scam tactics, I wonder how much more recognition they’d get if they put their intelligence to good use!
Got any thoughts on the tricks used by online scammers? Why not share in the comments section!