The tale of the Nigerian Prince scam

Published by Gregor Frimodt-Møller on

The first Nigerian Prince emails appeared back in the 1990s – but why is it still working?

The most common form of the Nigerian Prince scam is receiving an email from a person indicating to be foreign royalty or executive. The content of the email typically promises a share of a multimillion-dollar fortune or investment, and the only thing the receiver needs to do is help get the money out of the sender’s home country. The scammer then proceeds to either ask for your bank account number to transfer the money for safekeeping or for a small advance payment to help cover the expenses of transferring the money. The final step is the fraudster continues to ask for advance payments with the explanation that something went wrong the first time and either takes your payments and disappear or worst-case scenario empty your bank account.

Why is it still working?

The Nigerian Prince scam is one of the longest-running frauds we’ve ever seen. So why does it still work after all these years, you ask? Surprisingly, many people still fall victim by this type of fraud. The fraudster prey on our greed and/or emotions in a calculated manner as it gives us the opportunity to feel good about ourselves by helping another person in need.

Fraud has changed over the years as people has become more educated on the dangers of online scams, however the fraudsters have also become more sophisticated in their scam attempts. Today victims are contacted in various ways through telephone, email, text messages and even through social media platforms. These scams are targeted towards private households but also towards employees – more commonly known as business email compromise, which involves employees being scammed into granting access to the company’s financial infrastructure. This leads to millions lost for the company and can have tremendous consequences for the future.

‘’… approximately 15 billion spam emails are sent daily’’

The evolution of technology has been beneficial for fraudster; however, it has also helped improve the quality of cyber security and it has never been more important than now to protect yourself, business, and data.

Cybercriminals are resourceful and it is important not to undermine their ability to damage your business. This is why we have transformed IBM Trusteer into an as-a-service model – making it sure that digital threats and fraud are kept to a minimum. Reach out to us today and see how ReTrust will protect you, your business, and customers.

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