Scammers and Fraudsters are they really different? For me is just a matter of semantics. They basically do the same thing, take away your hard earned money. So, we shall use the terms interchangeably. Now let’s talk about scammers in Nigeria, they have been operating from time immemorial, it is their business to come up with new tricks to lure unsuspecting victims into their traps. Sometimes their tricks are so basic and because of our human nature we fall for it. They entice us with perks and loads of goodies that we fantasize on what we can do with the money once we lay our hands on it. Sometimes, they play on our emotions and we also fall for it because we are human.
For scammers it is nothing personal, it is just a business for them. But to us, it is very personal as we watch our money disappear before us.
“A scam is like good wine, great food, nice parties, lovely house and fanciful cars. But you never get to taste the wine, eat the food, enjoy the party, live in the house or drive the car.”
No one wants to be taken for a fool and no one wants to be scammed. But we get scammed anyways. Sometimes, we are too embarrassed to say it other times we are just disgusted with ourselves for falling for it. In recent times, victims of scam and fraud have the misfortune of not being informed or of being too gullible or greedy or curious. Sometimes we fall for scams and frauds because of our emotions, then we are drawn and hooked. These guys set a bait and they are equally greedy as they don’t mind milking you dry.
So, here are 7 popular ways people have been scammed in Nigeria and we shall keep you updated when new scams are unearthed.
1a)Email-Message Appealing For Assistance: I have been a victim of this sort of scam as far back as 2013. Although I was not directly affected, my friends and family members were victims. The story goes like this, my yahoo mail was hacked and I was locked out of it while the fraudsters sent an appeal for help on my behalf. I tried logging in and they logged me out each time I succeeded in logging in. By the time I got round to changing my password and sending a general mail to all my contacts, the following had happened:
- All my contacts had been wiped out
- All my emails had been wiped out
- Some friends and family members had actually paid money into the account they provided.
- Most friends and family members did not receive my email debunking the news of me being stranded in France after allegedly being robbed as claimed by the fraudsters.
I eventually abandoned my yahoo mail and opened a Gmail but the damage had been done. It was a sad sad tale. They played on the emotions of my contacts.
1b) Email Message From A Bank: Another form of email scam is one allegedly from your bank asking you to click a link or cancel a subscription.
- Newsletter subscription: You receive a purportedly generated mail from your Bank asking you to confirm the newsletter or an electronic notification system you subscribed for and if you are not interested to cancel same by clicking a link. You are usually told that it comes with a monthly charge ranging from N10,050 to N15,000. Please do not click on that link. These emails usually look very genuine with the logo of the victim’s bank plastered in the body of the email. I have never personally clicked on the provided links, although I get loads of it. Some people do and fill in their bank details and get defrauded or scammed. Here is what it looks like:
2. Alert On Stolen Data/Register For Safer Platform: A more renowned style of scamming unsuspecting people of their money is an alert on stolen date. You will be sent an email purportedly from your bank stating that all your data and bank information was stolen, so you need to register to secure your account. Another method is to state that due to the high rise in fraud the Central Bank of Nigeria has directed that you register for a new method or product. In this case, they called it Diamond secure wherein all transactions carried out on your mobile app will be concluded by the use of a code that will be sent as a text to your mobile number. Believable right? Do Not Register or click the link.
It is actually a genius method to defraud you. In this case you are given an ultimatum to register. Here is what it looks like:
2 Messages On Deactivation Of ATM cards: Another popular way of being defrauded in Nigeria is the Bank Verification Number (BVN)validation. You get a text message from a number ( not your automated bank text messages) this is from a phone number telling you that your account or atm card has been deactivated because you did not register for BVN and you should contact another unknown number. The message could also come in the form of an email. I received such message from an email allegedly emanating from a bank. Guess what? I don’t even have an account with that bank. Do Not Respond.
Here is what it looks like:
3. Phone Calls: A phone call from a man who says you haven’t verified your bank number and you should provide your account details so that same can be done for you. Some might say you have not registered for the Bank Verification code number. Remember, these fraudsters are sweet talkers and expect you to provide the missing gaps in the information they coined up about you. Most times, they don’t even know your name, all they have are random numbers which they try. Listen More and Talk less.
4. Contract Of Supply: This is a very ancient way of defrauding people and in this present times only very greedy people fall for this trick. Except you were actually expecting a contract on supply of goods for NNPC. The fraudsters put a phone call across to you asking that you make supplies for Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. They usually say they are from Port Harcourt, sometimes these fraudsters know your name and what you do, maybe because they had access to your business cards. Be very cautious.
5. Websites: This is another method we should all be weary of, everybody wants quick money but the question of how quick or how easy never comes to mind. This is not a Nigerian website though, but Nigerians might fall victim to it as it is very popular. It is called fans2earn.com. Most times, we say what have I got to lose? They are not asking for money. But it never starts with that, once you have earned the money in your online account as requested by the website, then you would be asked to take a survey and you must pay to take that survey. You get consumed with the $5,000 you see in your online account and think to yourself that parting with maybe N20,000 or N30,000 for $5,000 is not such a bad deal after all. That’s how you would be scammed of your hardearned money. I was once joined to a WhatsApp group called fans2earn.com. It was annoying and I was shocked to see a lot of my contacts were also joined to the group. We were told “welcome to the millionaires group.” I exited of course.
Also be weary of websites that sells cars, sometimes, the car looks lovely and cheap, but it is not always what you think it is. Many have been scammed as they paid and never have the car delivered to them. jiji.com is one of those popular sites you should be weary of. Although the website warns against such scam, but it is very much alive there and the mechanism they put in place to ward off scammers is not watertight. People still get scammed there, on a daily basis. The sellers always ask for money in advance, they call it delivery fees or secure fees( to secure the goods as many people have booked for it). I heard that some of the sellers there are genuine but I have never met a genuine car seller on jiji.com
6. ATM Cards: If you think that a fraudster does not have the pin to your ATM card so once it is missing, it is useless, then you are mistaken. A fraudster can have your pin through technology. At least a driver who stole his Boss’s ATM card did it. And it can also happen to you.
7. Spell: This was very common back in the day and is still in existence, most people feel ashamed to talk about it because they are always blamed for being stupid, emotional or plain greedy. It starts with you being asked a direction to some place and the partner of the fraudster quickly jumps into the conversation to say they recognise the fraudster as a prominent man of God from an African country. The rest is history as you are being given a run down of your life and all. At the end of the day, you are asked to part with all your money. The spell clears off after some hours or 30minutes later when they are gone. Other ways are in a taxi, they start fighting about sharing money and all, the next thing you are at your house handing over your jewelleries or money to them. The scenario is endless. In most of these case, they ask you not to tell anyone about it.
Here is how to prevent yourself from being a victim to the above stated frauds and scams:
- Always log out of your email and use an email with more security features like Gmail. Also log out of your social media accounts.
- Always read all text messages asking for your pins and bank account details carefully, then call your bank to verify such information or send them an email. Your bank customer care works 24hours every day, so there would always respond. Never give out your bank details to unknown numbers or third parties. Be informed at all times on new banking policies by verifying same from your bank.
- Once you misplace your ATM cards, quickly lodge a report with your bank so that same can be blocked. Also do not put all your money in your accounts that has an ATM card. Create some sort of security by transferring your money to an account you do not have immediate access to.
- Don’t be greedy, think through every business transaction that is presented before you. Be slow to make haste. If possible investigate any and every business or contracts you are unsure of. Ask questions. Someone might have had a similar experience.
- Never click on links in your email messages asking you to deactivate a service you never subscribed to or to complete your information for your bank details or for any other sensitive matter. Carefully read through every email before taking any action.
- Money does not come by that easy, referring people to register in a website does not mean you will be paid. Don’t be gullible.
- Always be cautious when you pick calls from numbers you do not recognise, there’s really no rush to give out information like your name, your location and other sensitive information. Try as much as possible to know or identify your caller before you give out information. Scammers are smart and any little information is sufficient for them to work with.
- Don’t be greedy and be very careful, people cannot multiply money and good business takes hard work to yield fruits. It is never as easy as the fraudsters make the business look.
- Be vigilant when people go spiritual on you. Like telling you things about yourself which you never told them. Know that there are spells for that kind of thing.
Finally to be forewarned is to be forearmed and armed with this information fraudsters in Nigeria can never scam you.
If you have ever been scammed in your life and you are ashamed or too embarrassed to share your experience, that’s alright. Send me an email and it will be published as an anonymous experience. Your story can save the next person from being scammed. Let us all fight this menace be staying informed.