It might surprise you to learn that as recently as 2018, the Nigerian prince scam was estimated to have raked in over $700,000 – and that figure was just from unsuspecting Americans. Even today, there are people who still believe the story of the generous prince who promises to share his untold millions with you, if only you’ll send him a small advance, or your bank account details.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Nigerian prince email scam is still as relevant as it ever was. In its original form, it still has enough appeal to take in unsuspecting victims. But more importantly, it serves as a reminder that the scammers haven’t gone away – they’ve merely refined their methods, changed their tactics, and moved on to additional platforms.
How did the Nigerian prince scam start?
How to recognize a Nigerian prince scammer?
By now, most of us are wise to the tactics used by Nigerian prince scammers and can see them coming a mile off. Here’s a list of some of the more obvious red flags:
- The original email, tweet, SMS, or contact is unsolicited
- The sender has a royal title or claims to be a foreign dignitary. More recently, this has evolved to include Middle Eastern bankers, US soldiers fighting overseas, lottery winners, rich orphans, and sons of Russian Oligarchs
- The scam is usually linked to a country or region where there’s corruption, confusion – and plenty of money!
- The sender says they’ll share a huge amount of money with you, but only after you’ve sent them funds or your bank details
Key characteristics of the Nigerian prince email
Because the Nigerian prince email scam has been around for so long, it’s a relatively simple matter to identify the key characteristics and form of the content. If you receive an email containing any of the features below, the alarm bells in your head should start ringing immediately!
- An emotional appeal to your better nature: this may take the form of a seemingly small request for help, and is often designed to tug at your heartstrings. The language used may be personal and emotionally-charged
- A small initial request: the scammer may ask an apparently innocent and innocuous question in order to establish contact with you. Only later on will the true motive appear
- Poor English and grammatical errors: this may appear obvious after the event, but ask yourself this question: if someone was a prominent member of a royal family or a top international banker, wouldn’t they be able to spell correctly?
- The promise of unreal returns: whilst some of the content may be designed to engage with your higher nature, there’s also an appeal to your baser instincts – namely, the chance to make big money for a small investment
- A request for personal information: you can only help the person – and secure your returns – if you share private information, like your bank details
- Increasing demands: once you’ve been hooked, you may find yourself facing additional requests for more and more funds
- The trail suddenly goes cold: this is typically accompanied by unusual activity in your bank account, alongside the sickening realization that you’ve been conned
How to protect yourself from Nigerian prince scams?
This is where Payback comes in. We’re one of the first companies to wise up to what was happening on the darker side of the web, and we’ve made it our business to recover funds for people who’ve been affected by any sort of cybercrime, including Nigerian prince scams.
You may think that you have no chance of getting your money back. But at Payback, we have the specialist knowledge, technical expertise, financial experience, and legal muscle to help you reclaim what’s rightfully yours. We’ve recovered many millions of dollars for victims of internet fraud, and our professional, confidential, and market-leading service has helped people across the globe. So if you’ve been scammed on the internet, call us now to discuss how we might be able to help you.