With the birth of the internet has also come the birth of the internet scam. There are as many different internet scams as there are internet users, and many of them seem very convincing.

One of the most ubiquitous, and oldest, of internet scams is the Nigerian Get Rich Quick scam.

The Nigerian Get Rich Quick scam takes many forms, but is most often done under the guise of having a Nigerian relative or official who has passed away and has left inheritance. The scammer sends an e-mail (generally poorly worded and in broken English) that names the person who has just died and that he or she is the executor of the estate. The executor of the estate requests that you send an e-mail in reply acknowledging receipt of the e-mail. Once the e-mail is replied to, a second e-mail is sent out requesting personal information from the recipient of the inheritance.

Nigerian 419 Scam - Not A Way to Get RichUsually the e-mail requests such things as name, date of birth, address, contact phone number, etc. Up until this point, the scam seems fairly legitimate, except, perhaps, that the recipient is not aware that he or she has a Nigerian relative.

The e-mail following the second e-mail is generally the one that tips off even Internet newcomers that there is a scam. The e-mail requests that the beneficiary send money to Nigeria for the will to be completely processed. Often, the e-mail stipulates that the estate is frozen until money is repaid to debtors. Usually the executor requests that the money be sent via Western Union money transfer, though he may also accept a money order, usually, cheques are not accepted.

Once the supposed beneficiary sends out the money, they are promised they money in a cheque sent to the address provided. Sometimes, a fraudulent cheque is sent, and other times there is no cheque at all. If the ‘beneficiary’ tries to send a subsequent e-mail asking where their money is, more often than not, the e-mail address will have been inactivated, and they will realize that they have been scammed.

This summary is only an example of one form of the Nigerian Get Rich Quick scam. Sometimes, it takes the form of having won the Nigerian Lottery, another version of the scam occurs on dating websites. Sometimes, on dating websites, Nigerians will request money to relocate to the United States, or to maintain an internet connection. There is often a promise to pay you back with money from an inheritance, or lottery winnings etc.

With the advent of better spam filters that come with modern security packages, these scam e-mails will now often not ever reach your inbox. However, spam filters will not always filer every e-mail and there are some rules of thumb to avoid getting scammed.

First, unsolicited e-mails are always suspicious, especially ones written in very broken English.

Second, paying money to get money is almost always indicative of a scam.

Thirdly, always deal locally; avoid sending money, or dealing with people who are from overseas, or ever people from different states. Laws vary from country to country, state to state, and even city to city, the closer you stay to your home, the less likely you are to get scammed. And if you do get scammed, you have more recourse with local scams that foreign ones.

So, with a little forethought, you can avoid getting scammed, and make your money only fall into the right hands.

BTW if anybody wants to enjoy seeing the scammers being scammed then go take a look at 419Eater.

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