Internet and email scams are almost as old as the home computer itself. They go by different names and always try to scam you out of money somehow. The most often used one is called the 419 SCAM. It is called this because it is a section of a Nigerian criminal code that makes these scams illegal. It is under Section 419 of the Nigerian Penal Code. It is also called an “advanced fee” scam. An advanced fee scam is when someone will ask you to send them some money; around 1,000 to 2,000 dollars(US). A thousand dollars will seem like nothing, with the promise of millions in return.
I got my first 419 scam from a prince in Nigeria who wrote to me that his city was under attack and his money was no longer safe. This Nigerian Prince wanted to transfer his millions of dollars into my bank account and would gladly pay me twenty percent of the money, just to keep his money, for safe keeping. Now, this is the first time I have ever heard of something like this, so I was intrigued but didn't do anything right away. I did send an email back and told them that I was interested. Then I got more and more emails from this person begging me to hurry and send them the bank account information.
The next day at work, a couple of other people said that they also received a similar email. One came from a lawyer in Nigeria stating how his client had been killed in the revolution of his state and that he wanted to send them millions of dollars to hold until they found a relative of the man and another employee said that she got an email from Nigeria and had the same last name as her and that she was the only surviving heir of a man who hit the Nigerian Lottery but was afraid of the banks and that they would take his money for the government and needed her bank account information to deposit the funds there until he felt safer.
Of course, the offer of a percentage of millions of dollars is kind of hard to pass up when you are raising a family and living paycheck to paycheck. This is why so many people have fallen for such scams. I was going to fall for it too until I heard my co-workers talking about it and then realized it may be some kind of scam. If I was a little smarter at the time, I would have opened a different bank account and used that, just to see what would have happened.
The Secret Shopper Scam
There are secret shopper emails going around too. A secret shopper is when a person is hired by a company to go into a store, bank, restaurant etc... and this shopper will rate their service and the secret shopper, will be paid for this. Now, there are legitimate secret shoppers, who do just this, but the one I responded to was a scam. They sent me a postal money order for 750.00 US and told me to go to my bank and cash it. Then I was to rate the service of the bank, take the money to a Western Union place and send the cash off to the next address on my list, minus 150 dollars, that I was told to keep.
I took the postal money order to my bank and they ran it through their machine, and it wouldn't work. The teller told me to take the money order to the post office and see if it was real. It was in fact a counterfeit money order. I assume it was sent to me to see if the counterfeit money order would pass as real. Don't fall for these scams. Do your homework and remember, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.