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nigerian scam

Last week a community member came to the computer center needing help sending email to Nigeria.  
She explained that someone called her on the phone saying he was her brother from Nigeria who
had inherited money. She was puzzled because she had never heard of this brother before.
To get the money, she just had to email personal information to her brother.

I cautioned her that this might well be a scam and that she should be very careful.
Together we searched Google for "Nigerian scam."
After she examined the web pages we found, she decided not to send that email.

One of the functions of our computer center is to help community members stay safe on the Internet.
If you have any questions about safety on the Internet, please ask staff members
about your questions.

More on scams and frauds

The Nigerian 419 swindles, also known as advanced-fee frauds, started before the Internet was widely used - the solicitations used to be sent by regular snail mail (examples).  Please note that in recent years the sender may not be identified as Nigerian.

Recent New Yorker article

Basic Information:
   this is very entertaining - as long as you are not a victim
419 Coalition


Not sure how to recognize one? 
The potifos site has many examples of letters received by e-mail.

Where should you report the letters?  Just forward them to spam@uce.gov.
If you have already been swindled, contact your nearest Secret Service office.  For Takoma Park that is the Washington Field Office 202.435.5100

see also:
US Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria - 419 scam information

Federal Trade Commision 419 information

And remember - this is serious stuff to the victims.  Here is a quote from the FTC site:

"If you're tempted to respond to an offer, the FTC suggests you stop and ask yourself two important questions: Why would a perfect stranger pick you — also a perfect stranger — to share a fortune with, and why would you share your personal or business information, including your bank account numbers or your company letterhead, with someone you don't know? And the U.S. Department of State cautions against traveling to the destination mentioned in the letters. According to State Department reports, people who have responded to these "advance-fee" solicitations have been beaten, subjected to threats and extortion, and in some cases, murdered."

also interesting: fraud blog
and if you know all about this scam and have been receiving the solicitations for years ... some fun.


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