If you’ve had an email address for a while, you’ve probably received an email that sounds like this:
Before I start, I must first apologize for this unsolicited mail to you.I am aware that this is certainly an unconventional approach to establishing a relationship, but you will realize the reason for my action after going through this email…” or:
“To whom it may concern:
I have a transaction of mutual benefits, which I like to share with you. It involves an amount of Nineteen millions Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars only,in our Bank, which I like to acquire with your help and you will be compensated adequately as your commission.”
These are typical opening lines of what’s known as a “Nigerian Scam”, or “419 Scam” (so named because of the Section Number of Nigerian criminal law that applies to it), an “advance fee fraud” scheme that has been in existence through regular postal mail for more than 20 years, and which has been multiplied many times over since the advent of the Internet and free e-mail.
There are many helpful resources you can find online to protect you, your family & friends. Here are two places I find helpful (you’ll like the 2nd one if you have a sense of humor):
1) From Penn’s (Univ. of Pennsylvania) Computing Department
Seriously, 419 Scams are very dangerous. People have lost their lives pursuing these for the hope of wealth. I personally know 5 families who were involved in one. They lost over $105,000 and one person was lucky to escape Nigeria with his life.
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