The world at large has a crucial fraud issue. Sigh!
The modern-day transnational scam can be traced back to Germany in 1922 and became popular during the 1980s. There are many variants of the letters sent. One of these, sent via postal mail, was addressed to a woman’s husband and inquired about his health. It then asked what to do with profits from a $24.6 million investment, and ended with a telephone number.
Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they mainly originate in other nations. In 2006, 61% of internet criminals were traced to locations in the United States, while 16% were traced to the United Kingdom, and 6% to Nigeria. Other nations are known to have a high incidence of fraud, they are; Ivory Coast, Togo, South Africa, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland and Jamaica.
This is unpleasant news, but one thing about these scammers is that; they mostly use the same strategies over and over again.
With that in mind, the logic for helping you avoid scams is simple:
If you know the scammers and how they operate, it’d be hard for them to scam you.
Get familiar (from a safe distance) with these common scammers who work harder than the devil.
1. SMS SCAMMER
Mode of Operation: Sends a text message (SMS) designed to look like it’s from a bank with a link to steal account details.
Strengths: Clever, good at imitating banks, relentless, hard to trace.
Weaknesses: Spelling errors in the text message, the link in the message always looks strange, the sender ID is usually a random phone number (instead of the bank’s name).
Your Smart Move: Delete the message immediately, don’t tap the link.
2. THE PONZI SCAMMER
Mode of Operation: Sells investment schemes that are too good to be true on WhatsApp, Facebook or Telegram.
Strengths: Makes sweet promises, usually uses a familiar brand to look legitimate, creates a sense of urgency.
Weaknesses: The interest is always extreme (eg. “Invest 2,000 naira to get 50,000 naira in 30 days!”), always too urgent (eg. “Today is the last day to invest!!!”), usually doesn’t have a physical office.
Your Smart Move: Don’t reply, don’t send money to the scammer, leave any Telegram or WhatsApp group that looks suspicious immediately.
3. THE MONEY DOUBLER
Strengths: Knows how to appear legitimate, advises you to start with a small amount so you’ll build trust, disappears quickly after receiving money.
Weaknesses: Never explains clearly how the money will be doubled, doesn’t have an office address.
Your Smart Move: Avoid anything that mentions money doubling online and offline. It’s always a scam.
4. BITCOIN SCAMS
- Fake Bitcoin exchanges
- Ponzi schemes
- Everyday scam attempts
5. JOB OFFER SCAMS
Sadly, there are scammers everywhere – even when you are looking for a job – posing as recruiters or employers. They use fake and “attractive” job opportunities to trick people.
It starts with a phone call (or a direct message on LinkedIn) from someone claiming to be a recruiter from a well-known company who saw your CV and saying they are interested in hiring you. Whether you’ve applied or not, the offer might be very appealing, but don’t fall into this trap.
Nevertheless, to protect yourself from job offer scams, it’s very important to;