I have a simple rule: If someone you don’t know asks you for money online, it is guaranteed to be a scam. There is a correlary that goes with the one simple rule: If someone you do know asks you for money online, you should pretend you don’t know them and follow the one simple rule.
The Nigerian fraud scam predates the World Wide Web, email, and the Internet, yet it remains suprisingly effective. It amazes me, though, that there are still people who aren’t familiar with the concept, or that are still gullible/naive enough to believe that an exiled Nigerian prince needs your help and wants to share his millions with you in appreciation. Seriously?
There are other variations–like the scam that a man from Naperville, IL fell victim to. This man has been under the misguided impression for two years that he is in a relationship with a mysterious woman on the Internet. He never actually met the woman, but that hasn’t stopped him from sending over $200,000 to her over the two years. You would think it might have raised a red flag or two when he was wiring money to accounts in multiple countries–including the United States, England, Malaysia, and…NIGERIA!
There is some humorous irony in that the scammer went too far by claiming to be kidnapped and requiring ransom–leading the Naperville man to involve authorities for “her” rescue. Instead, the police had to sit the guy down and break it to him that he has been getting scammed for two years and his “girlfriend” doesn’t exist.