Nigeria: Is it Still the Email Scam Capital of the World?

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(Edited Pixabay Photo credit: ArtGirl via Bitlanders


Is Nigeria still the scam capital of the world? Let's find out.




♠ A Short Background on my
Online Nigerian Email Scam Exploration ♠

A few days ago I was able to create two clothing print designs for steemSTEM in Steemit. And as you already (or should) know, Steemit is a website that can pay you in Steem cryptocurrency. That site is a big melting pot of people from all over the world - an online hub where people who want/need money, write about anything to earn Steem. It can be about personal stuff or everyday life, memes and photographs or even well researched and quality articles. 

Related: Read my blog post about the good and bad in Steemit before you start writing there.


Since many people of maybe every nation has a representative there, of course there are Nigerian writers too. I see some writing about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and getting rewarded for it. That is a good thing of course.

nigerian_419(Photo credit via Pixabay)


SteemSTEM is a group of Steemit STEM writers who curate posts and then dole out big or small upvotes. (Big upvotes mean more Steem/SBD pay.) A post must be of high quality and properly researched before they agree or disagree to upvote on any post. They also need to come to a decision on what reward level will be given and if it cited credible sources or not, etc. 

Now since it can be a source of good money, of course people will write STEM articles. Naturally anyone will be writing such posts so it is no wonder there are different steemSTEM groups worldwide. Nigeria is no exception.

In order to create art for steemSTEM and STEM Nigeria, I definitely had to know more about the country. After all, they are having a Nigerian meetup so of course the design should be something related to them. And so my Nigerian research started. 




♠     What is Nigeria Known For?     ♠

In order to create an appropriate design I must know what I'm designing for. One of the group managers gave me the artistic license to create what I think is best. (Thank God there are people who know how to trust artists.)

The first thing I had to find out was, "What is the country known for other than scam emails?" Of course there must be something more to the country than fraudsters, right? From my short initial online check, I learned that they are known to be people who love to eat and party. During parties Nigerians prefer to look as fashionable as they can plus the food are said to be amazing. 

Watch this video below to learn what else I found out:

(Video credit: Top Lists via  YouTube)


So since parties are pretty popular in Nigeria, I went that route and designed something related to it. Upon posting my design and reason behind it, most of them agreed that they do indeed like to party. Not everyone does but generally they do.

advance_fee_scam(Photo credit: @artgirl via Steemit)


Doing the art commission definitely made me see Nigeria in a new light. However even after learning all the new things, the thought of scams emails still didn't leave my mind. I was curious to know if it is still rampant or have stopped or even lessened. This led me to do more online research about it.




♠  Nigerian Email Fraud: Then and Now  ♠

Apparently not all scam emails come from Nigeria but it is where it originated. The first documented evidence of scams date back to 1920. A certain P. Crentsil sent letters to someone in Ghana saying he had some magical powers that could benefit the receiver. A decade or so later, there were "Nigerian princes" who went to the US and defrauded people.

In 2014, a journalist was able to talk to some of these Nigerian tricksters. As it turns out, they do not see what they do as crimes because their government is corrupt and some think white people are stupid. But of course the reporter did not disclose the identity of the two people she interviewed.

Read on to find out more about this scheme.



♣     What is a Scam Email?     ♣

If you have an email address and have been using the internet for more than a decade now, you should have an idea what it is. Basically it is some African prince/respected official writing to say they will share their riches if you help them. They just need your bank information so the supposed wealth can be sent.

They have many different strategies and stories to dupe people. Here's one scam email I received in my spam folder several days ago: 


 (Screencap Image credit: ArtGirl via Yahoo Mail app)


Once you provide your personal information and/or bank account details they will promise to send part of the money. Before they send anything you will have to give them something first. It can be money or the item you're selling, etc. Or worse, they will take some money from your credit card if you provided it. Technically experts call this scheme an Advance Fee Scam or Nigerian 419.



♣     My Experience with Email Fraud Attempts     ♣

Years ago out of curiosity I responded to one that said I won something from an email raffle draw. I never signed up to anything so I wondered how I could have won something. All they wanted to do was get my information and/or money. Well if you're a student and are poor of course you'll know it is a scam. At least that's how it was for me.

They ask you for money to get some money? Who in their right mind does that? And how can I send something I didn't have? Hahaha. Even if I did, I wouldn't unless I was greedy.

So then afterwards I got more spam emails. There were even some about big lotto/sweepstakes prizes. Another was about a FedEx/UPS package of electronic items I need to claim. Hahaha. They must have realized I didn't have any money thus the emails. 

Of course as technology grew the scammers also evolved. Aside from sending electronic mails, they go around social media sites. A decade ago, someone inquired about a manual camera I was selling on Facebook and wanted me to ship it first. Wow huh. Crazy people.

I'm glad I seldom delete emails. Haha. Here's what the conversation looks like.  

nigerian_crime(Yahoo Mail Screen cap images credit: ArtGirl via Bitlanders)


I'm sure you'd like to know what happened next. Basically I was trying to sell my Nikon SLR camera and they saw my Facebook market post. The camera was an old one my uncle bought at a second hand price. I began to post for sale ads when I could no longer use it. The first email they sent me was on April 23, 2008. The last one was on May 5, 2008. Imagine that. Lol.

Below are the emails after they told me the "payment have been sent" to my bank account. (Heck I even sent them my bank information!?) It's a good thing the account didn't have enough money, otherwise I might have been a victim of identity theft.

Now that you're reading this, don't do what I did. Protect yourself from identity theft! Anyway, read the rest of the conversation below if you haven't seen my gallery album yet:

(Yahoo Mail Screen cap images credit: ArtGirl via Bitlanders)


After I sent that (clearly annoyed) email they stopped replying. Hahaha. And then I reported their account to Facebook and went on with my life. Of course I got offended because they thought I will ship out something unpaid.  Too bad for them I was already selling online for a few years then. I knew how online selling worked. Duh. By that time I already learned my lessons locally. :P

Email scammers can break your heart if you let them. I mean, someone would buy my damaged SLR camera and lens set for $880? Wow, what an outrageous price! It was heartbreaking because it was too good to be true. (I sold it locally later on at a realistic price.) What more if it was a relationship scam? Hahaha. 

Nigerians also have love related email fraud. But of course even Russians are supposedly known for it. If you want to learn more on how to avoid it, why not buy some online dating guides? Or just ignore the fraudulent/spam emails you get like most people do.

email_scams(Photo credit via Pixabay)


Actually social media / email love scams are prevalent worldwide. Be wise and don't just come on to or accept messages from strangers thinking you will have their love. There are exceptions but most likely they will get your money instead. Why? Well, it will definitely happen if you are blindly hungry and desperate for some love and attention.

I know a former colleague who even bragged about how she used to get $$$ from some foreigner online. To think she was already married then! Whoa. Not only do people defraud others through email, they do it through chat with video cam! 

So you see, I don't really think the scam emails will ever stop. It may happen from Nigeria, the US or even next door! Who knows?



♣     2018 Email Fraud Information     ♣

Being fooled by Nigerians via emails is still not a thing of the past. To this day there are several internet cons that keep happening. Most of them are still done through electronic mail.

steemit_nigeria(Photo credit via Pixabay)


An article in May stated these fraudsters have actually gotten more sophisticated. They are now so effective that they can defraud big or small businesses! Since 2013, the FBI have determined billions of dollars have been siphoned due to this crime.

On June 12th, 74 people were arrested by the FBI including almost 30 from Nigeria! The arrests happened in Canada, Mauritius, Nigeria, Poland and the US. Want to know what kind of scam emails they were sending? Business emails! This activity have been steadily growing since 2015 according to US news reports.

These swindlers do their research and find out about the businesses they will target first. And then the scammers will send an email impersonating the company's actual business leaders or correspondents. Of course the targeted individuals will believe the emails because they are aware of the details of the business deals.

Tsk tsk. That's how email scammers can become millionaires. Don't envy them because they can get rich now but they will pay for it later on.

But of course there are still honest and good Nigerians. These are the ones who work hard to earn a decent living. If you are not aware, intelligent or educated Nigerians have been migrating to study or work in the US and UK. Many even excel in the Western education system.

internet_fraud(Photo credit via Pixabay)


In 2016, there was an article written with studies showing those from the Igbo tribe proved to be the most intelligent Nigerians. Apparently they are also amazing at STEM fields, even getting scholarships among other African nationalities. (It's no wonder then that I see many of them writing scientific articles on Steemit.)

One such Nigerian actually got funding to make a movie about these Nigerian email schemes. It was shown in the Tribeca Film Festival last April. Later this year, the film shall be commercially released so if you're interested you can watch out for it too. 




♠     What Does This All Mean?    ♠

Based on everything I've mentioned, do you think Nigerians are still a country of scammers? They might have become experts but there are other fields they excel in. This type of fraud may have originated in their country but the same thing can be done by anyone anywhere. I think there are a growing number of Nigerians that choose to go the high and respectable road.

We are all products of our environment and their country is no stranger to being poor. We all know poverty will make people turn to crime. Nigerians who move out of their country actually excel in STEM fields and in other areas too. I believe there has been general improvement because of this.

scam_capital_of_the_world(Photo credit via Pixabay)


The Nigerian Americans for example are extremely proud of their nationality even if they are far away. They actively participate in whatever is happening in their homeland even on foreign soil. Nigerians pool their resources to help improve their motherland and it's people. Now that is something we don't see everyday.

What do you think about their country now? Here are 10 more things you might not have known about them.

(Video credit: Top Lists via YouTube)



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About the author


Freelance Artist | Writer | Online Seller | |
>Contact me for any design, blogging/writing or online research needs.
For any condo, townhouse or property needs in Metro Manila, Philippines, visit my property blog.

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