Nigerian Scams are this under developed West African country's third largest export industry so don't count on them being shut down any time soon.
Also called 419 scams (referring to article 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code) they rip off naive internet users to the tune of tens of millions of dollars each year.
The biggest victim was Nelson Tetsuo Sakaguchi, a senior director of Brazilian bank Banco Noroeste S.A. of Sao Paulo who embezzled $242 million between 1995 and 1998 in the 3rd biggest scam in banking history.
The bank went bust. $170 million was eventually recovered after fleets of luxury cars and mansions in Nigeria, Switzerland, and the U.S.A. were seized.
Research by Aunshul Rege of Rutgers University, USA in 2009 described in detail how well organized Nigerian Scams function:
...some of the bigger ones include:
1992-1994... American business man from San Diego duped out of $5.2 million dollars.
1995-1998... $242 million scammed from a director of Brazil's Banco Noroeste S.A. of Sao Paulo. This scam also resulted in two murders
2008... American woman from Oregon cheated out of $400,000 in an inheritance scam.
2009... Australian woman loses $600,000 in a romance scam.
A number of these unfortunate victims end up bankrupt.
2003... an English senior technician sets himself alight and dies of his burns.
2006... an American hangs himself in South Africa.
2007... a Chinese student in an English university commits suicide after a lottery scam.
Some desperate victims have attempted to recover their losses by actually traveling to Nigeria (not a good idea) to track down the scammers... with disastrous consequences.
1996... a Swedish business man is kidnapped and $500,000 is demanded for his release.
1999... a Romanian man suffers the same fate and the same $500,000 ransom is demanded.
2008... a Japanese business man is kidnapped and $5 million ransom demanded from his family.
1994-1997... scammers are believed to have murdered at least 15 victims of various nationalities during this time.
1999... Norwegian business man is murdered in South Africa in a scam gone wrong.
2004... a 29 year old Greek man is murdered in South Africa after his family refuses to pay a ransom. (ref:Wikipedia)
Nigerian Scams Part.1
419 Scams Part.2
419 Scams Part.3
The Internet Revolution, Globalization, and the Global Financial Crisis created the perfect storm... Old Business models are being destroyed and jobs are disappearing offshore at an astonishing rate. Analysts warn that "China and India are poised to out-think us and out-compete us by their sheer numbers" and that "there is no job security now".
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Who Ate My Lunch?