11 Nov 2014

Beware of Scammers and 419ners


This is the first part of the series we began yesterday. Please enjoy reading it, and be better informed on how to keep your money safe online.

FRAUDULENT (419ners)

The term, "419" comes from the section of the Nigerian Penal Code outlawing fraudulent criminal activities by its citizens, although not all 419 scams originate in Nigeria. [419 is sometimes called Nigerian scam.]

Popularly called :”Yahoo-Yahoo”, you can’t talk about Nigeria and the internet, and not think of 419, going by the way we managed to rack up for ourselves a negative online reputation at the beginning of the dotcom revolution. So it will be unjust and unfair (at least to the ‘Magas’) to write an article about how Nigerians make money online without including this section.

In fact, because of our negative reputation, many websites and international corporations including Paypal, refused to transact business online and offline with Nigerians. But thank God that perception is beginning to change due to extensive and concerted efforts by the government and other well meaning Nigerians against Internet Fraud and Advanced Fee Frauders (419ners). 

You can make money online legally and illegally, but why would you want to make money in a way that will take your sleep away, and even when you sleep, you have nightmares? Why would you want to keep looking over your shoulder as if someone is watching you and you don’t want to be caught?

Here are 8 ways Nigerians fraudulently make money online (but because I don’t recommend any of them, I won’t be giving any links):

1.      Credit Card Scam: by stealing credit card information from websites, popularly referred to as control numbers, this is a major method of defrauding people. Others include; fraudulently hacking into people’s computers/email addresses/websites to steal their banking details, stealing people’s pins and passwords, setting up phony websites/cloning of real websites such as bank/online stores/governmental websites and asking customers to log in their pins, etc.
  In typical geek language, they call this Phishing. (Check this link for some facts.)

2.      SPAM mails: have you received a mail from a certain Nigerian saying he is a top government official who needs to wire billions of naira abroad and needs you help? Or a mail of a dying child who needs your donation to survive, asking you to click a link to donate? Or a mail from ‘your bank’ saying your account is at risk so you have to click a link in that email immediately to resolve the problem? If you have, then you know what this is about.

   There is a great article by my friend and fellow blogger Michael Olafusi on how you can identify SPAM mails, please read it here

3.      Advertising phony products on Craigslist, OLX and eBay, etc: It has been found out that some Nigerians actually put up phony deals of a product that does not exist on Craigslist, OLX, eBay and many other classified advertising sites, hoping to swindle the unsuspecting foreigner of his hard earner cash which he will send with the hope that a product is being exchanged for it. They some times also do this through information product marketing. But the incidence has greatly reduced now.

sijinius.com4.      HYIP or High Yield Investment Programs: 99.99% of all HYIPs are eventually going to run away with their clients’ money, yet people still put their money in them. They are web companies that promise you more than 500% investment return in 1 day. Nigerians are also known to own a number of them. They are simply online Wonder Banks! You also have to be careful of some fraudulent investment schemes that won’t promise you exorbitant returns in a short period but will still run away with your money. They might say they will trade for you in forex, oil, gas, commodities, futures, etc. Be careful, do your research on any company well before giving your money to them.

You will surprisingly find websites dedicated to telling you you can make money from HYIP. But I can assure that any money made from HYIP, will go with, HYIP!

5.      Pyramid Schemes: there are genuine pyramid schemes but the majorities you find online are simply fraudulent. They are companies/programs that promise you great wealth if only you can bring people who will bring other people. Essentially, the people at the top enjoy at the expense of those who join below/later. Pyramid schemes are similar to Multi Level Marketing (MLM), the only difference is that pyramid schemes are built essentially on NOTHING! So if you find yourself in a Network Marketing business doing nothing except very busy recruiting other people, you might be in a fraudulent business.

6.      Fake Forex Investment companies: While forex trading is a very viable and legal means of making money online, some unscrupulous individuals will build a professional looking website and request that you invest your money with them for sizable returns. Note that they won’t promise outrageous ROIs like 50% or 90%, they will promise you 10-20% annually but will eventually abscond with their clients money. Some will even go on to design another replica-type website with a new company name and try the trick all over again with neew unsuspecting clients.

7.      Fake Charity organizations: setting up fake charity organizations and requesting for donations from the unsuspecting public. They will sometimes place pictures of (fake/non existent) accident victims and say it’s their relative or neighbor.

sijinius.com8.      Internet dating sites/social media/forums: If you suddenly receive a message on facebook from an unknown Nigerian lady or a ‘white lady’ saying she likes you/your profile and wants to be your friend and you respond, you might be chatting with a yahoo boy or girl! A common method they use in recruiting magas is to pose on social media, popular forums or internet dating sites as a beautiful white or black chic looking for a potential suitor, or handsome white male stranded in Nigeria/Africa in need of a partner. Essentially, they try to get the email address of their potential contact/maga, who they then maintain contact with/build emotional relationship with, sometimes for up to 1 year, in order to eventually fleece them of their hard earned cash.

Fraud-Exposing sites
I will end this section with useful websites that I use and which you can use to identify/check if any online money making website or idea or program is fraudulent.

But note that scammers and 419ners generally focus on taking advantage of your ignorance, or emotional desire to get-rich-quick. So that's the first/primary check you need, these websites are only secondary.

1.      Scamadviser.com,
2.      Scamwatchdog.org, Roy Tribble’s site (I am a huge fan. He is a Christian and also an expert on trading binary options profitably, more on him at Options Trading below)
3.      Scam.com
4.      Forex; Forexfraud.com, FPA (Forexpeace army) and many others
5.      Scamxposer.com
6.      Scamwatch.gov.au
7.      Scamwarners.com
8.      Bare Naked Scam, you can click on the link to see their post on detecting online scams.

Please do your due-diligence research before giving, transferring or sending your money to anyone online, including charity organizations. You will be surprised at the number of people who need your money more desperately than you.

See you soon. Thank you.

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