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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Beware of Lagos Nigeria Scams

Nigerians are known internationally for many things both good and bad. But one of the bad things they are known for is 419 or advanced fee fraud and internet scams both of which have made life very difficult even for good Nigerians who want to make positive contributions to the global community. These days Nigerian scams are becoming more sophisticated and can take on surprising forms such as;

1. Real Estate Scam

The most common Lagos Nigeria scam (it is to me because most of the victims live and work in Lagos Nigeria). This scam is usually carried out by lay-abouts, frustrated people with twisted, criminal minds who don’t mind selling their souls to the devil. The real estate scammers usually target apartment seekers pretending to be reliable and legitimate real estate agents whereas they are poverty stricken people looking for a quick buck. The first sign that you are dealing with a real estate scammer is that he/she doesn’t have a stable office or residence, the scammer is usually a hanger-on. Other real estate scammers target people looking to buy property, knowing that buyers will always check at the land registry many of them forge Certificates of Occupancy also known as C of O. in order not to fall for this scam patronize only professionally recognized real estate agents even if their services is a little more expensive.

2. Job Scam

Another common Lagos Nigeria scam is the Job scam in which the scammers advertise non-existing jobs in national dailies especially Tuesday Guardian and on Job websites, sometimes they use posters and other outdoor signs. Usually these scammers ask applicants to send their CVs along with their applications to a given e-mail address. The e-mail is immediately replied by auto responder with the applicant being invited for an aptitude test or oral interview at a particular date and venue (usually an office address, a shop or a public event place) where the applicant is asked to pay some money to receive a posting or employment form. If you pay before receiving a job you can kiss your money good bye because if you are eventually posted - which is not likely - you will be rejected by the so called employer who sometimes might be an accomplice or may be an unsuspecting employer who has no vacant position in his/her company. Some of them will refine their method by claiming that they will only recommend you to any prospective employer and that they are not a recruitment agency.

3. ATM scam

The ATM scam is losing its steam because banks have taking measures to reduce this scam but a few people still fall victim. This scam also known as phishing is cleverly carried out by scammers who try to gain access to a bank’s customer’s sensitive details such as login details, ATM pins etc. Be on the look for e-mails that request you to supply your bank account login details or ATM pin.

4. Adsense Scam

Another Lagos Nigeria Scam is the Adsense Scam done by people who claim to make a lot of money from Google adsense program. They might claim that they have developed websites and blogs that are adsense friendly and potentially lucrative. How much do you have to pay to get these websites? Token amounts, the question any sensible person should ask is if you make so much from adsense, why do you need to sell adsense friendly websites for token amounts?

5. Make big money scam

Be careful of people who approach you with ‘make a lot of money’ offers pretending to be successful people. They move about organizing seminars and workshops promoting mostly pyramid schemes, multi level marketing programs or network marketing programs. Although not all multi-level marketing and network marketing schemes are scams but scammers take advantage of these schemes to rip people off.

6. Yahoo Scam

Also known as the romance scam, this scam is usually done in online chat rooms by people who want to take advantage of the desperation and affection of people looking for love. The scammer will often times use another person’s picture (a handsome man or pretty woman) and will make lover overtures including promise of marriage to the potential victim eventually requesting for money or gifts from the victim under different guises such as claims of having fallen sick, being trapped or stranded and needing money or kind to come out of their problem.

7. You have won a large amount of money scam

This kind of scam also known as the lottery scam is done by people who pretend to be organizers of a product or customer loyalty reward promotion. The aim of the scam is to create a false believe that victim has won a large amount of money which will be paid to him or her very soon, but there is a catch the victim is usually asked to send phone call vouchers to a certain number as a step to redeem his/her prize.

8. I am calling from abroad scam

Here the scammers pretend to be based abroad and are returning to Nigeria with a lot of goodies especially foreign currency and expensive stuff from abroad. They will promise to come over to your place to stay till they return only for them to develop stories about being stranded or have lost their way with no money (local currency) on them and needing financial assistance (usually in the form of phone call vouchers) to be able to reach you.

How to avoid these scams

If you are greedy, desperate, careless, lazy, naïve or too kind you risk falling victim to scammers. Many of them are predators knowing the kind of people they wish to prey on but you can avoid them by doing the following things although it is not a guarantee against being scammed.

Get as much details as possible

Ask questions till you are well and properly sure of what you are getting into. The best way of knowing if you are being taken advantage of or not or being tricked is to properly understand what your so called friend or associate is up to. Why is he/she saying whatever it is they are saying? Is it because they mean well for you? Are they stupid to imply what they are telling you? Are they who they really want you to believe they are? What kind of person am I dealing with?

Know who you are dealing with

These questions should always be on your mind. Another good way to go about this is to ask for prove of any claims made to you. Never take anything at face value, what you see with your eyes and what you actually know are not the same, so be careful.
Learn to be cautious

I don’t mean you should be paranoid but avoid giving yourself away to people you barely know even if they are very friendly and nice. A devil can also smile and put up a nice attitude so be careful. As long as you don’t know what anyone is thinking you can be sure of one thing, only you and your God at any given time can be trusted completely.