These heartless fraudsters, known as Nigerian scammers, are much, much worse than your parasitic ex. The Nigerian scam has long been flagged as a common type of cyber crime. Financial Crimes Division of the Secret Service reportedly receives 100 calls a day from people claiming to be victims of a Nigerian scam. Here's how the con typically works: You get an email from someone asking for your help. To obtain an arrest warrant for the perpetrator, you'd have to acquire a huge body of evidence of email communications, phony documents, bank transactions, etc.
Then, once you hand over your banking info and pay a "small fee" to cover the expenses related to the transfer, the so-called "prince" sucks your savings dry. If an unsolicited email reads like a drunk text, it's probably a hoax. That's a clear sign that Sandra doesn't know what the hell she's talking about. Spare yourself the trauma of a drawn-out, potentially inconclusive criminal investigation.
"He said he was going to pay me back double," she laughs.
Though the amounts and details of the scam vary from victim to victim, when it comes to romance scams, the con is almost always the same: The crook wants to get a besotted victim to wire money or provide access to a credit card.
By then, Morrison knew she was dealing with a scammer.
"The story was getting more and more bizarre," she says.
Two sharp blows that had left her alone in her late 50s. His cancer took him swiftly, before she had time to process what was happening.
Later, when she puzzled over their relationship, she'd remember this. That had been a fateful move; it made everything easier for him. After the funeral, a grief counselor told her to make no sudden changes in her life for at least a year, and she followed that advice.
Then the daughter became ill and had to be hospitalized.
When Morrison suggested that her suitor put his daughter on a plane to get better medical attention at home -- and even offered to pick the girl up at the airport -- a new crisis struck.
The Nigerian scam is also called the "419" scam because 419 is the article of the Nigerian penal code that prosecutes fraud. Your best defense against a Nigerian scam is not to fall for it in the first place.
Another name for this scam is the "advance-fee" scam because the fraudster asks you to pay money before you get the payoff (that never actually arrives). Here's how to avoid getting swindled by 419 fraud: Sometimes, multiple scammers will pose as one person; other times, one scammer will pose as a wealthy Nigerian, attorney, travel agent, lawyer, government official, etc. Everything the scammer tells you — their name, address, occupation, and sob story — is a complete lie.