09.03.13

Nigerian Scam: The next generation

“I am a single American soldier, would you send me money?” – this is how a mother and daughter convinced hundreds of victims to send them money as part of a huge ‘Nigerian Scam’ style fraud.

The Nigerian Scam is one of the more common types of financial frauds. This scam is usually carried out by a payment request mail or e-mail, through various temptations.

The Nigerian Scam is a type of financial scam similar to the Spanish Prisoner Scam, which first appeared in the 1920’s . During this period it was mainly appealed to businessmen: The scammer asked a wealthy family for financial aid in smuggling a person from jail in Spain by bribing the guards. In return they were assured a much larger amount of money. The Nigerian Scam became popular in the 1980’s, during the presidency of Shehu Shagari.

The two women took this scam to the next level and modernized it by identifying victims on social networks and dating sites impersonating as American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. They asked the victims to send them tens of thousands of dollars to purchase a satellite phone, pay customs or pay travel expenses.

The two were part of a gang based in Nigeria, which transferred small amounts using services like Western Union, while the women were recruited in order to open bank accounts that were used to transfer much larger amounts and were received more than a million dollars from the various victims and then tunneled the money to the organizers of the fraud in Nigeria, while keeping their 10% commission.

In various cases the mother used her daughter to transfer money, because her ability to transfer funds via Western Union was restricted.

Overall, they established 68 bank accounts using 24 fake identities.

Mother and daughter were sentenced to 12 and 19 years in prison accordingly.
The fraud organizers themselves are still very much active…