Due to the revolution in the internet virtual world, people from all across the world interacting with each other like neighbors, Social networking sites across the world has increased the possibilities of connecting the world in a friendship band. It all started with personal computer but now it is sitting on your palmtop (mobile phones and PDAs) having unlimited possibilities of communication. With the platform like IOS, Android & Windows mobile handsets have superseded the personal computers and Laptops. In this world of virtual illusions everybody lives day and night in fact many a times we forget which is our real world and what is illusion. We all eat drink and sleep in the virtual world.
Due to the convenience of communication media everybody using it as a medium to reach to the maximum people, some use it for good and others for Bad. Innocent individuals are not aware of the predators sitting o the other side of the terminal and are planning to take advantages of the situation. There are various angles and expressions are there for this type of situation but in this section we are talking only about the Cyber Scam which involves the financial frauds against the innocent people which infamously known as 419ers scam. In Nigeria, “419”, refers to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code (part of Chapter 38: “Obtaining property by false pretences; Cheating”) dealing with fraud In Nigeria.
They have various modus operandi depending on victim and situation they make plans and implement the same in very systematic manner. In first one they use the platform of internet to make money by sending email purportedly sent to a selected recipient but actually sent to many, making an offer that would allegedly result in a large payoff for the victim. More recently, scammers have also used fake but plausible-seeming accounts on social networks to make contact with potential victims. The email’s subject line often says something like “From the desk of so and so Your assistance is needed”, and so on. The details vary, but the usual story is that a person, often a government or bank employee, knows of a large amount of unclaimed money or gold which he cannot access directly, usually because he has no right to it. Such people, who may be real but impersonated people or fictitious characters played by the con artist, could include, for example, the wife or son of a deposed African leader or dictator who has amassed a stolen fortune, or a bank employee who knows of a terminally ill wealthy person with no relatives or a wealthy foreigner who deposited money in the bank just before dying in a plane crash (leaving no will or known next of kin) Although the vast majority of recipients do not respond to these emails, a very small percentage do, enough to make the fraud worthwhile, as many millions of messages can be sent daily.
Once the victim’s confidence has been earned, the scammer then introduces a delay or monetary hurdle that prevents the deal from occurring as planned, such as “To transmit the money, we need to bribe a bank official. Could you help us with a loan?” or “For you to be a party to the transaction, you must have holdings at a Nigerian bank of $100,000 or more” or similar. This is the money being stolen from the victim; the victim willingly transfers the money, usually through some irreversible channel such as a wire transfer, and the scammer receives and pockets it. More delays and additional costs are added, always keeping the promise of an imminent large transfer alive, convincing the victim that the money the victim is currently paying is covered several times over by the payoff. The implication that these payments will be used for “white-collar” crime such as bribery, and even that the money they are being promised is being stolen from a government or royal/wealthy family, often prevents the victim from telling others about the “transaction”, as it would involve admitting that they intended to be complicit in an international crime. The essential fact in all advance-fee fraud operations is that the promised money transfer to the victim never happens, because the money does not exist. The perpetrators rely on the fact that, by the time the victim realizes this (often only after being confronted by a third party who has noticed the transactions or conversation and recognized the scam), the victim may have sent thousands of dollars of their own money, and sometimes thousands or millions more that has been borrowed or stolen, to the scammer via an untraceable and/or irreversible means such as wire transfer. The scammer disappears, and the victim is left on the hook for the money sent to the scammer.
Another technique used in this is called the Romance Scam in this the con artist (posed as an attractive female in more cases) approaches the victim (male victim in most of the cases) on an online dating service, an Instant messenger, or a social networking site. The scammer claims an interest in the victim, and posts pictures of an attractive person. The scammer uses this communication to gain confidence, then asks for money. The con artist may claim to be interested in meeting the victim, but needs cash to book a plane, buy a bus ticket, rent a hotel room, pay for personal-travel costs such as gasoline or a vehicle rental, or to cover other expenses. In other cases, they claim they’re trapped in a foreign country and need assistance to return, to escape imprisonment by corrupt local officials, to pay for medical expenses due to an illness contracted abroad, and so on. The scammer may also use the confidence gained by the romance angle to introduce some variant of the original Nigerian Letter scheme, such as saying they need to get money or valuables out of the country and offer to share the wealth, making the request for help in leaving the country even more attractive to the victim.
In a newer version of the scam, the con artist claims to have ‘information’ about the fidelity of a person’s significant other, which they will share for a fee. This information is garnered through social networking sites by using search parameters such as ‘In a relationship’ or ‘Married’. Anonymous emails are first sent to attempt to verify receipt, and then a new web based email account is sent along with directions on how to retrieve the information. In one such case a scam from Malaysia involves a woman alleging to be half American and half Asian with a father who is American but has died. After communication begins the target is immediately asked for money to pay for her sick mother’s hospital bills. Also, requests are made to help her get back to America. In every case these scammers never have a webcam so you can’t verify that they are the one truly in the picture they have sent, and offers to send a camera to them by postal mail (instead of money to buy it) are met with hostility. Domestic scams often involve meeting someone on an online. The scammer initiates contact with their target who is out of the area and requests money for bus fare. One “woman” scamming had money sent to a generic name like Joseph Hancock alleging she could not collect the money due to losing her international passport. After sending the money the victim is given bad news that they were robbed on the way to the bus stop by two men and the victim feels compelled to send more money. The person never visits their victim and is willing to chat with their victim through a chat client as long as their victim is still willing to send more money.
The idea of publishing of this article is to save innocent people from getting conned by these types of rogues they are not in Nigeria but now many are there in India and waiting to hound you, so be careful and believe only in God……