Internet Scams to Watch Out For: Nigerian/419 Scams
There are many variations on this theme, but the basic pattern is an email from someone in Nigeria or another distant country reaching out for your help in accessing a big chunk of cash held in a foreign bank. They might pose as someone with a terminal illness, someone who shares your last name or — the classic — a Nigerian prince.
Whatever the pitch, they need your help to access that money (which obviously does not exist). All you have to do is supply personal details or wire them money to help with the proceedings/pay taxes/pay for a lawyer, for which you will receive a large percentage of the mother lode deposit.
What to do: Do not respond to these emails. Once these scammers engage with a potential victim, they’re skilled at drawing them into the net. How bad can it get? An employee at a Brazilian bank lost $242 million (yes — that’s millions of dollars) of the bank’s money after falling for a 419 scam.