A "scam" is a fraudulent practice of African origin that involves extorting funds from internet users by enticing them with a sum of money and promising them a share of it. The use of scams originated in Nigeria, which has also given them the name "419" in reference to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code punishing this type of practice.
The scam approach is classic: you receive an e-mail from the only descendant of a rich African who recently passed away. The latter deposited several million dollars in a financial security company and your contact person needs a foreign associate to help him transfer the funds. Moreover, he is willing to pay you a non-negligible share if you agree to provide him with an account to transfer the funds.
By responding to a scam message, the internet user gets caught in a vicious circle that can cost him hundreds of dollars and even his life if he takes the bait.
There are in general two scenarios:
Subject: ASSISTANCE GEORGES TRAORE ABIDJAN,CÔTE D'IVOIRE. WEST AFRICA. Hello, Please excuse this intrusion that may seem surprising at first given that we do not know each other. If you accept, I would like to present you with my situation and offer you a deal that may interest you. My name is George Traore, I am 22 years old and the only son of my Father the Honourable Richard Anderson Traore who was a very rich man, a Coffee/Cocoa merchant based in Abidjan, the Economic Capital of the Côte d'Ivoire. He was recently poisoned by his associates. After the death of my mother on 21 October 2000, my father took me under his care. On 24 December 2003 my father passed away in a private clinic (Lamadone) in Abidjan. Before his death, in secret, he told me that he had deposited a total of ($8,500,000) Eight Million Five Hundred Thousand American Dollars in a suitcase in a Financial Security Company in my name as heir. Furthermore, he told me that it was because of this wealth that he was poisoned by his associates. He recommended that I find a foreign associate who could honestly provide me with his assistance to save my life and help me survive. - Change of beneficiary; - Serve as guardian; - Provide an account for the funds transfer; - Help me join him in his country; - Invest in a profitable sector. Moreover, I will give you 25% and 5% will be used for expenses that may be made. I would be grateful to benefit from your useful advice. NB: I suggest that you handle this matter with subtleness and confidentiality in light of the degrading sociopolitical situation we are currently living in. God bless you! GEORGES TRAORE.
Subject: NOTIFICATION OF APPROVAL INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER DEPARTMENT OFFICE TO: MR. H. HERMANN RE: INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS DEPARTMENT WE ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT OF YOUR MESSAGE. INDEED, WE HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED BY THE KONE CHILDREN TO TRANSFER THE SUM OF $4 MILLION IN YOUR FAVOUR. WE CONFIRM THAT THESE FUNDS WERE DEPOSITED IN OUR BANK BY MISTER KEVIN KONE WHO, WHEN DEPOSITING THE MONEY, MENTIONED HIS DAUGHTER, ANGELA KONE, AS THE BENEFICIARY. TO THAT EFFET, THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE COOPEC BANK'S INTERNATIONAL TRANSFER DEPARTMENT IS TAKING THE LIBERTY OF CONFIRMING THE APPROVAL PROCESS OF THE SAID FUNDS IN YOUR FAVOUR. THE BANK IS REQUESTING LEGAL DOCUMENTS FROM THE COURT OF JUSTIC HERE IN ABIDJAN SIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE TO LEGALIZE THE TRANSFER PROCESS; AND NOTE THAT SINCE SHE IS NOT THE ORIGINAL SIGNATORY OF THE DEPOSITED FUNDS BUT RATHER HER LATE FATHER, THE BANK IS ASKING HER TO PROVIDE THE LEGAL DOCUMENTS LISTED BELOW BY THE COURT OF JUSTICE SO WE MAY FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE TRANSFER OF THESE FUNDS TO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT. THESE DOCUMENTS ARE AS FOLLOWS: 1) A MANDATE. 2) AN AUTHORIZATION CERTIFICATE FROM THE COURT OF JUSTICE. 3) A SOURCE OF FUNDS CERTIFICATE ONCE WE HAVE RECEIVED THESE DOCUMENTS THE TRANSFER WILL BE AUTOMATIC. UPON YOUR RECONFIRMATION, WE WILL UPDATE THE TRANSFER NOTICE VIA OUR ACCOUNT WITH OUR CORRESPONDENT BANK IN ORDER TO TRANSFER THE FUNDS TO YOUR ACCOUNT. IF YOU NEED FURTHER INFORMATION, FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME AT (225) 05 20 91 56 OR BY E-MAIL. HELP US SERVE YOU BETTER. KIND REGARDS.
When someone offers to help you easily earn large sums of money via the Internet, you are most definitely being scammed. The best solution, as always, is to delete the message. There is no point trying to fight these crooks yourself; competent services in various countries are already handling this type of affair.