Letter from Africa: Why Nigeria’s internet scammers are ‘role models’

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The email is immediately threatening. Welcome to the underworld of Covid, which, depending on your stance, can be viewed either as the greatest public health and economic emergency for a century, or a chance to scam a fortune from a captive market under effective house arrest. Now, the latest coronavirus iteration has been intercepted by the internet security company Sophos.

The scammer will contact you out of the blue by email, letter, text message or These scams are often known as ‘Nigerian ‘ scams because the first wave of.

You would think that after decades of analyzing and fighting email spam , there’d be a fix by now for the internet’s oldest hustle—the Nigerian Prince scam. In fact, groups of fraudsters in Nigeria continue to make millions off of these classic cons. And they haven’t just refined the techniques and expanded their targets—they’ve gained minor celebrity status for doing it. On Thursday, the security firm Crowdstrike published detailed findings on Nigerian confraternities, cultish gangs that engage in various criminal activities and have steadily evolved email fraud into a reliable cash cow.

The groups, like the notorious Black Axe syndicate, have mastered the creation of compelling and credible-looking fraud emails. The whole idea is why invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to build your own malware when you can just convince someone to do something stupid? And they’ve embraced this identity. Advanced Nigerian groups have lately increased the amounts they make off with in each attack by targeting not just individuals but small businesses.

With so many many third parties, clients, languages, time zones, and web domains involved in daily business, it can be difficult for a company with limited resources to separate out suspicious activity from the expected chaos. Nigerian scammers will send tailored phishing emails to a company to get someone to click a link and infect their computer with malware. From there, the attackers are in no hurry. They do reconnaissance for days or weeks, using key loggers and other surveillance tools to steal credentials to all sorts of accounts, figure out how a company works, and understand who handles purchasing and other transactions.

Eventually the scammers will settle on a tactic; they may impersonate someone within the company and attempt to initiate a payment, or they might pretend to be a company the victim contracts with and send the target an innocuous-looking invoice to pay.

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Skip to main navigation. Malicious phone calls and emails targeting people and others who interact with the federal courts, instructing them to take action, may lead to people being scammed out of money or personal information. If you receive a threatening phone call or email, refrain from disclosing any information requested. Federal courts will never use a phone call or email to request personal or financial information, or to threaten recipients who don’t comply.

These calls and emails, which threaten recipients with fines and jail time if they do not comply, are fraudulent and are not connected with the federal courts. Jurors : Most contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be through the U.

Online dating scam is ‘one of the largest of its kind’ romance with the man sending daily emails in English that she translated via Google.

While 14 arrests have been made, a count federal grand jury indictment unsealed on Thursday Aug. The unsealed indictment shows the evolving tactics of online fraudsters which has seen them continue to dupe unwitting victims despite numerous awareness campaigns about the online scams. Through business email compromise scams BEC , fraudsters use hacked email accounts to convince businesses or individuals to make payments that are either bogus or similar to actual payments owed to legitimate companies.

As part of the scam, fraudsters learn about key personnel in companies who are responsible for the payments as well as the protocols necessary to perform wire transfers in various companies and then target businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments, Paul Delacourt, FBI assistant director in charge of the case said in a press briefing. Before his arrest, Okeke had posed a successful entrepreneur and was featured on a Forbes under list as well a BBC Focus on Africa program.

With long-running romance scam tactics through dating websites already well-known, fraudsters have gone as far as impersonating US soldiers and then seeking lovers on social media, particularly Facebook. In some cases, rather than being asked to send money, victims of romance scams are deployed as money mules whose banks accounts are used to move illicit funds or are talked into opening accounts on behalf of criminals. US law enforcement have recently received complaints of such scams in all 50 states in the US, authorities also say.

The high profile arrests have also triggered extreme reactions among Nigerians at home and abroad, many of whom daily experience the cost of national stereotyping that comes with the well-covered activity of online fraudsters, particularly with the wide spread of email scam attempts. These costs range from increased scrutiny for visa processes , a lack of trust when attempting to do business internationally and being restricted from using international payment platforms.

US officials say the busted ring was led by US-based operatives who facilitated the scams by opening US bank accounts where victims were directed to deposit money. Operatives then laundered the stolen funds through these accounts, ultimately funneling them to Nigeria and pocketing the proceeds. Beyond the arrests that have already been made, the US is working with foreign counterparts to arrest 57 more indicted subjects.

10 facts about Americans and online dating

The United Nations strongly recommends that the recipients of solicitations, such as those described above exercise extreme caution in respect of such solicitations. Financial loss and identity theft could result from the transfer of money or personal information to those issuing such fraudulent correspondence. Victims of such scams may also report them to their local law enforcement authorities for appropriate action. Welcome to the United Nations.

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Not everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel. They profess their love quickly. And they tug at your heartstrings with made-up stories about how they need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Why all of the tricks? The scammers transfer stolen money into the new account, and then tell their victims to wire the money out of the country.

Here are some warning signs that an online love interest might be a fake. They ask you to:.

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Xenophobia in South Africa: ‘We Nigerians are not all criminals’. South Africa: How common are xenophobic attacks? In our series of letters from African writers, Nigerian novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani laments that internet scammers have become role models for many youths in her country. But most shocking for Nigerians was the separate arrest of their internationally celebrated business tycoon, Obinwanne Okeke.

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While these scams originated in Nigeria, they now come from all over the world. How this scam works Warning signs Protect yourself Have you been scammed? More information. The scammer will contact you out of the blue by email, letter, text message or through social media. Or they may tell you about a large inheritance that is ‘difficult to access’ because of government restrictions or taxes in their country. The scammer will then offer you a large sum of money to help them transfer their personal fortune out of the country.

Scammers may ask for your bank account details to ‘help them transfer the money’ and use this information to later steal your funds. Or they may ask you to pay fees, charges or taxes to ‘help release or transfer the money out of the country’ through your bank. These fees may even start out as quite small amounts. If paid, the scammer may make up new fees that require payment before you can receive your reward.

They will keep asking for more money as long as you are willing to part with it.

Social disease: how fraudsters adapt old scams to exploit coronavirus

Are you or a loved the intended recipient of gold or money being carried into or shipped into the United States? Are you being asked to pay money to receive the money or gold? Or something very similar to that story. And now you are having doubts about its authenticity, or are just worried that you might be in trouble. In the typical story, the money is held by the courier, sometimes customs, or sometimes by some other law enforcement agency.

Three-in-ten U.S. adults say they have ever used a dating site or app, not interested (37%), sent them a sexually explicit message or image.

Frank T. McAndrew does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. With cryptocurrency fraud and IRS scams making headlines, I had thought Nigerian email schemes were a thing of the past, akin to the bygone days when a scammer might offer to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. So I was surprised to recently come across an article about a year-old Swedish divorcee named Maria Grette.

She had set up a dating profile and soon received a message from a year-old Danish man named Johnny who was working as an engineer in the United States. They wrote back and forth, starting chatting on the phone, and a relationship blossomed.

The long, weird history of the Nigerian e-mail scam

Do you have questions about your vision health? He was the answer to her prayers. Before she knew it, her savings were gone.

Check this online dating scam infographic. The scammer makes contact by phone or email and offers a job overseas, the opportunity to do.

About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Home U. Main More. Nearly Half of U. A majority of women say they have experienced harassing behavior from someone they went on a date with.

Roughly six-in-ten online daters in the U. A majority of online daters report being either very or somewhat concerned about how much data such services collect about them. Lesbian, gay and bisexual online daters report positive experiences — but also harassment. A majority of LGB adults report that they have used an online dating site or app, roughly twice the share of straight adults who say the same.

Fraud Alert

A new style scam is appealing to the Muslim brotherhood for help in trying to retrieve funds belonging to Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab who attempted to blow up a Northwest Airline flight on Christmas Day. Security specialists Symantec believe that it operates like most other scams where the sender keeps requesting that various fees and charges need to be paid before the money is released.

The fees keep increasing until the victim of the scam realises that there’s no chance of getting and money and eventually gives up.

which they playfully created a profile for her on an online dating website. That particular message was from a man who described himself as a Dane These kind of advance fee frauds are known as scams in Nigeria.

Earlier this year , thousands of people checked their e-mail and found a surprise: An American soldier needed help, and there was something in it for them. Their correspondent was a sergeant stationed in Iraq, he explained. He had accumulated millions in hundred-dollar bills—the older ones being phased out by the Treasury—from the cash brought into the country by the American occupation. The soldier needed to launder this money, fast, and needed a stateside bank account to do it.

In return for a cut of the total, could he use yours? Reading this, you’re probably already shaking your head: The message is obviously spam. This electronic missive from a 21st-century war seems like just a new, cynical twist on a scam that’s a hallmark of the Internet era: advance-fee fraud, also known as “” for the fraud designation in the Nigerian criminal code or “Nigerian letter spam. Sent out by the tens of thousands to e-mail address lists, messages seek a small investment on the part of the recipient in return for the promise of a huge profit, then create obstacles that require initial investments on the way to the payout—which never quite arrives.

Faking it — scammers’ tricks to steal your heart and money

Does somebody want to transfer millions of dollars into your account? Does someone want to pay you to cash cheques and send them the money? Has a dying person contacted you wanting your help to give his money to charity? Have you sold an item and are asked to accept a payment larger than the item amount?

She had set up a dating profile and soon received a message from a “Nigerian Prince” scams are also known as “ scams,” a reference to.

In response to questions and concerns about whether the COVID pandemic could affect the continuity of water service to Fayetteville residents, businesses and institutions, the Fayetteville Utilities Department wants to reassure our customers that we have been and continue to take steps to ensure our core mission of delivering safe, reliable water continues uninterrupted. Safety and reliability are our top priorities. We recognize that many in our community are concerned about the financial impacts of this emergency.

During this time, we will not discontinue water service for delinquent accounts. You can continue to drink and use tap water. There is no evidence that coronavirus is transmitted through drinking water. City Hall is currently closed to the public, and in-person payments for bills and invoices are not available at this time. The payments office will continue to be staffed, and they will process payments and reports as usual. Requests for new service can be made by phone or by email.

For new service contact information, please go here.

United Kingdom Modern 419 Scam- Documentary