In the category of ‘know your classic scams’, the Nigerian Prince email stands out. Everyone who’s experienced the start of the internet has once upon a time received the infamous text where some Nigerian Prince (example Prince Alyusi Islassis) would state that he has been requested to contact you on behalf of some African company (example Nigerian National Petroleum Company) which is sitting on a large pile of money.
He needs your help though because, for some reason he’s unable to transfer the money himself, he needs an offshore account and will, therefore, need your account to send those millions of dollars too.
As a reward, you will receive a percentage of those funds. Sounds great of course, but for some reason, you first need to transfer an amount to a Nigerian bank, due to Nigerian law requiring you to prove your goodwill or something.
Not many people have fallen for it, because of the widespread nature of the scam. It has even become quite the embarrassment for Nigeria over the years.
However, some scammers still use it (with varying success of course, but even if one in a million emails offers a result, that’s quite the reward). 67-year-old Mr. Michael Neu who was arrested yesterday may not look like a Nigerian prince at all but he was still charged with 269 counts of wire fraud and money laundering.
The Slidell police department stated that the arrest of this ‘Nigerian Prince’ ended an 18-month investigation of Mr. Neu who is suspected to have been the “middle man”, and participated in hundreds of financial transactions, involving phone and internet scams, designed to con money from victims across the United States. Some of the money obtained by Mr. Neu was subsequently wired to co-conspirators in Nigeria.
Police Chief Randy Fandal commented: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
“Never give out personal information over the phone, through e-mail, cash checks for other individuals, or wire large amounts of money to someone you don’t know. 99.9 percent of the time, it’s a scam.”