“Whack a Con!”

mole 300x225 “Whack a Con!”Nigerian cyber scams became infamous, during the 1980s.  Americans and people worldwide were targeted.  Think of the last time you received an email, offering you billions of dollars from a long-lost relative or from one of your friends, whose email account was hacked.  This friend supposedly went to Europe and now is being detained by customs for not being able to pay a hotel bill.  Now, money is needed!  These are examples of Nigerian scams, where the ultimate goal is to get you to send money.  While many people regularly delete these, not everyone does.  Emails are read, curiosity overtakes them, and senders are corresponded with.  Money may be sent off.  If it is it’s pretty much gone, as it’s generally sent to an undisclosed location in a foreign country.  Read Scam Stopper for tips from Western Union and BBB on identifying potential cyber scams.

So who are the people that send these emails and why are they allowed to get away with stealing millions of dollars per year from people?  They aren’t readily identifiable, as they hide behind computers and work in foreign countries, where law enforcement is lax.  Many of them may operate from cyber cafes in Nigeria, where corruption and bribery are prevalent.   There are also counterparts in other countries, including the United States.  An average of over 500 emails goes out per day from one spammer.  If only a few people reply and send money, several hundred dollars can go a long way in a poor country, where living standards may be low.  There is little respect for “gullible,” Americans, who have such a high standard of living, in comparison to those countries like Nigeria, where jobs, food, decent housing, etc. are hard to come by.

Although it may not seem like it with the prevalence of these scams, crackdown on cybercrime is taking place.  The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria reported in April that 290+ individuals have been prosecuted and another 225+ are awaiting their fate in courts across Africa.  They are taking the lead in the fight against cyber crime and have a partnership with Australia.  Over twenty-four million dollars worth of “counterfeit financial” equipment has been confiscated.  Unfortunately, it is just so hard to keep on top of this crime.  Criminals are everywhere and seem to come out of the woodwork.

On a lighter note, there are reports of people, who relish making scammers’ jobs difficult.  Examples can be found on sites, such as www.419eater.com.  To truly combat this problem, though, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  They can work with foreign countries in combating cyber crime.  To reach them, call 877-382-4357 or visit www.ftc.gov.  Emails can be forwarded to spam@uce.gov.  Help the FTC and foreign governments whack a con, today!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/tpapi/2765541278/”>TPapi</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

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About Kristal Heffley

Ad Review and Social Media Specialist of BBB serving Northern Indiana. Kristal spends a great deal of time learning, writing about, and educating the public on scams of the day. She also is quite the social-media enthusiast and community partner. You can follow her posts, i.e. BBB serving Northern Indiana on Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and of course, our blog.