What is a Nigerian scam? Well, there’s more than one out there, and most of us have heard about at least one kind – whether through the recurring jokes people make at its expense, or an attempt has been sent to our own inboxes. In case you haven’t guessed it yet, we’re talking about the Nigerian prince scam which, as of a 2019 study, is said to still rake in more than $700,000 every year. The chance to help struggling royalty flee their country is seemingly still an effective tale to get people to part with their cash.
But as stated above, this isn’t the only scam to come from Nigeria, and the tactics and methods used have come a long way to ensuring this remains a lucrative, mostly untraceable industry. The advanced fee scam, for example, which is also known as ‘419’, has secured over $82 Billion to date, with millions of people worldwide having been affected.
Though these crimes are typically done by syndicates, lone actors aren’t uncommon. One man, known as Raymond Abbas, is responsible for stealing $431 million through phishing scams until he was arrested; another gained $40 million by targeting Chicago-based businesses, and these are just two of the people arrested in 2020. Typically, it’s high-achieving professionals that are the most likely to fall for these types of ploys.
While some types of Nigerian scams are simple in nature, like 419 fraud, others are slightly more sophisticated, as the need to adapt strategies has become essential to the success of scams and also avoiding capture. Nigeria’s crime watch authorities are privy to all of them. There’s everything from fake auctions and charities to eCommerce stores meant entirely to take your cash.
Read on to find out why Nigeria has so many scams and what you can do to report them and get your money back should this happen to you.
There’s no one answer to this question. Though the country is known for having a huge network of scamming operations, some operating in groups and others not, for the most part, its made up of honest, hardworking, and decent people. Without going too much into the disparity of wealth in Nigeria, a big part of why this began happening is desperation and the need to source income from somewhere. Of course, greed plays a role too.
Put simply, Nigerian money scams became a thing because people fall for them. The people that started this whole thing were able to prey on people’s best intentions and goodwill without putting hardly any effort into their attempts, and thus, a gap in the market was filled. Naturally, the network grew as more people realized what money can be made. Let’s be honest, if you don’t work, you can treat scamming as a full-time job, and eventually, you’re likely to get some people to fall for your attempts.
At first, all countries were pretty slow on the uptake, which meant this sort of scamming went relatively unchecked in the beginning. The money taken from targeting individuals with advanced-fee schemes pales in comparison to the amount stolen from corporations. Of course, this is what really caught the attention of organizations everywhere, not just in Nigeria itself.
Now, having caught the attention of existing federal bodies, like the FBI, task forces have been set up to take down the most prolific scammers, in Nigeria and various countries that are affected. Unfortunately, though, the smaller amounts scammed from everyday people like us still go relatively unchecked by these organizations; but that isn’t to say there aren’t ways of retrieving your cash.
This depends entirely on where you’re based, but all countries will have a relevant authority that you can turn to to report your recent scamming. Reporting to the Nigerian federal authorities won’t really get you anywhere, as they’ll work on a cross-agency basis, and likely won’t respond to individual cases. This may be worth a try if you’d like to give it a go, however.
Really, you’re likely best reporting to your own federal authortiy, but don’t get your hopes up on getting your money back. You absolutely should report it, but this will do more to put the scammer out of action and save the next person from falling for what you did. Information for authorities in some of the most affected countries can be found below.
Specialist Crime OCU Fraud Squad
Wellington House, 67-73 Buckingham Gate,London, SW1E 6BE
+44 (0) 20 7230 1220
United States of America
United States Secret Service,
Financial Crimes Division
419 Task Force
950 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-4518
Telephone (202) 406-5850
Commercial Crime Branch
PO Box 367
At Payback LTD, we’ve helped hundreds of people pull their money out of the accounts of scammers and put it back where it belongs. So far, we’ve nearly reclaimed almost one billion dollars, and that’s because we work quickly, and we know what we’re doing.
We’re a team of fraud experts, specializing in reclaiming funds from all kinds of scams, whether that’s bad brokers, stolen crypto, or 419 advanced fee theft. All you need to do is reach out and explain your circumstances – we’ll then get to work, collect all the evidence, and move fast to ensure a greater chance of getting your money back. You can see some of the great work we’ve done for other people, as well as learn more about how we operate, by reading the testimonials on our website.
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