I had to tell someone they've been the victim of a scam

I work for a bank. Yesterday I had a customer who had been selling their car. Someone from Nigeria offered to buy it. I’m sure you can see where this is going…

Yes. The cheque was for more then value of the car. She gave the guy cash before the cheque had fully cleared. The cheque bounced.

Ouch. She’s out thousands of pounds.

So it turns out, people really due fall for this stuff!

That kind of situation truly deserves the :smack:

I always wondered how these Nigerian scams keep working. Everyone must have heard of them by now. Right?


You’d think so, but what kills me that even if you didn’t know that Nigeria = scams, you shouldn’t be stupid enough to fall for that. I wouldn’t give money in exchange for a check for more than the amount of a car to anyone, no matter what country they’re from.

I’m not so sure. I don’t have a cite handy, but from what I’ve read, a lot of the victims of these things are intelligent, successful people - some of them even working in the financial sector. Upon interview, they are all terribly embarrassed, and saying, “I can’t believe I was so stupid”, but confidence tricksters can be pretty dang smooth, and even if the Nigerian chaps aren’t especially smooth, they are dealing with such huge scales (millions of emails) that a tiny, tiny strike rate is a good strike rate. All it takes is an otherwise smart, worldly person to have a bad day, or a lapse, and there’s another victim.

Also, don’t forget there are still millions of people very new to the internet. I’ve got friends and acquaintances who are smart enough folks, but they’re just “not into computers”, and some of them are newly online, and others are still not interested, but might be on the internet for the first time within the next several years. Many of them wouldn’t have heard of the Nigerian scams. I’ve lost track of how many internet newbies I’ve had conversations with, like:

“Don’t click on that, it’s an advertisement, and will fill your machine with Bad Stuff”.


“Yes, I know it does, but don’t click on it. It’s bogus.”

“How do you know?”

These are not dumb people, and I’m sure the following year, or even the following month, they’ll be having a similar conversation with friends of theirs, trying to warn them.
And also scams evolve.

Unfortunately the vast majority of these cons rely on the greed of the mark. That’s why many of them go unreported. When people see these things, they may have a hint that it’s a scam, but they want to believe. Often you can warn them, even explain how it’s done, and they will go for it anyway.

Something for next-to-nothing. Gets 'em every time.

My Mom is a bank teller and she has a customer who is below-average in intelligence, but mostly functional. He came in thinking he was a winner of the Canadian lottery.

She said he cried when he found out.

It makes me sad that the poor guy had his heart broken like that.

True, but it doesn’t sound like that was the case of the OP. Gullible, unprepared, but not greedy, just helpful.

I’m an attorney and an attorney friend of mine was telling me about his new contingency fee client. The client retained my friend to help get $1 million from Canada. My friend figured he may be wasting his time, but he could also end up with one third.

I told him, “Let me guess. The money originated in Nigeria.”

It did. I explained.

The next time I spoke to him, he said he no longer represented that client.

:eek: Wow.

I had a friend get sorta nailed a few months back. If she hadn’t of mentioned it in passing, she would have fallen for it hook line and sinker. She’s computer savvy enough to play an MMORPG.

What I don’t understand is that the internet is not what started these things. Not by a long shot. I remember working in a real estate office when I was 18 (quick math, 21 years ago) and getting an air mail letter that came from Nigeria. Same Scam. The thing is, these things were known BACK THEN. The internet has just made them more common. But truly, it was as common before the internet as companies calling to “confirm your orders.”

Anyone heard of the reverse hit-man scam? Hit man notifies you that you’ve been selected to get hit, he’s been watching you, knows your every move, blah blah. But he doesn’t like the person that hired him and thinks that you are a pretty ok person. If you’ll just match the money that he would have gotten paid, he won’t go through with it.

I just heard about that one last night.

I had a buddy relate to me that he’d stumbled upon a business opportunity. After he explained the basic details, I told him it sounded a lot like a pyramid scheme. He’d never heard that term before. I dunno how far he got into it, but he never mentioned it to me again.

A lady I knew once fell for a PayPal phish. Bright woman. Professional. Not naive or gullible. Experienced computer and internet user. It was just the first such email she received and she had no experience. They tagged her for $300, fortunately the bank covered it.

I recently got an e-mail about a “dispute with ebay.” I have no current ebay activity, but I clicked on the link and got an “enter your name and password” page. I did, and found the pages to the two links had been removed.

I don’t kow how far the phishers are going to get with a user name of “Santos L. Helper” and a password of “fuckyou”

nitpick: Halper

On Topic: Since I work at a The UPS Store, I’ve seen two or three people coming in to try and ship stuff (usually from ebay) to Nigeria. I always make sure its not a scam for them, and tell them not to ship if it is. It always is.

My sister-in-law got the car one, back when she was trying to sell her car. This was probably about 2-3 years ago.

I think her home address is being sold though, as she recently got a check in the mail for $30,000. The following day she got an e-mail explaining that she needed to cash the check, etc. etc. and forward on half the cash to this address.

Like last time, she deposited the check, waited to be told by the bank it was bogus, and moved on with her life.

She seems to think that maybe, just maybe, one day she’ll actually get some money out of one of these.

That’s what I would be somewhat tempted to do but I would likely come to my senses before I made it to the bank. Don’t most banks charge a hefty fee (over and above making you give back the money) if you deposit a bogus cheque?

The chances of the cheque being legit would be so low under the circumstances that it would be very unlikely I would pay the almost certain rubber cheque charge just for a miniscule chance of getting a bunch of $. I don’t buy lottery tickets either, and I suspect the cost-benefit ratio is probably better for real lottery tickets!

:eek: A third? I see the Nigerians hardly have a monopoly on scams.

An attorney I worked for had her purse stolen on her lunch break. That afternoon, she gets a phone call “from her bank” saying someone had found her ATM card and turned it in. “The bank” asked for her PIN, saying they needed it to stop any fraudulent withdrawals.

She gave them the PIN.