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It is not uncommon for advance fee scam victims to fall into an escalation of commitment trap and continue to send money to the scammers even after they have been told they are being conned.
This is because victims can become desperate and are unwilling to let go of the vain hope that the scheme that they are involved in is legitimate after all and that they will eventually get their promised windfall.
The scammers use a variety of stories to explain why they need your help to access the funds.
For example: As noted, the messages offer to let you keep a significant percentage of the funds in exchange for your assistance.
If you have sent money to scammers, you should inform your local law enforcement agency as soon as possible.
Also, take steps to protect your identity by accessing information about identity theft published by the Federal Trade Commission (US), Scam Watch, (Australia) or Action Fraud (UK).
And, the scams were also known as “419 scams” after the appropriate part of the Nigerian criminal code.In some cases, the scammers may gather enough information to access the victim’s bank account directly or steal the victim’s identity.An alternative type of advance fee scam, discussed separately on another Hoax-Slayer page, uses messages claiming that recipients have won a large sum of money in an international lottery or promotion.Occasionally, they may still be sent via surface mail and fax.
In years gone by, a great many of these scam messages were sent from the African nation of Nigeria.
Victims are asked to send advance fees and personal information, ostensibly to allow the prize funds to be processed and sent to the winner. Typically, advance fee scammers will send many thousands of identical scam messages to recipients all around the world.