The initial check was for 0,000, and fortunately, someone stepped in when they discovered she sent an additional 0,000 and contacted the authorities that discovered the scam.
Although the second check for 0,000 was recovered, the initial 0,000 is likely long gone. In 2013, a man in Utah was sent to prison for a similar scam where he stole a total of 0,000 from two separate women.
A man calling himself "John" messaged her and through daily phone calls and messages on Facebook, he gained her trust.
He spoke with what she thought was a British accent and his picture on Facebook portrayed a nice-looking man with graying hair and a beard.
The mastermind behind the scam, who used the alias “Mike,” led a network of at least 40 people spanning across Nigeria, Malaysia, and South Africa, with additional contacts in China, Europe, and the United States.
So, how can you protect yourself from these criminals?
The victims reported collective losses of .4 million, which is likely only a fraction of the actual losses since many victims are too embarrassed to file a report, the FBI said.
About 70% of the victims were female; more than half were women 40 years or older.
The Nigerian scam is also called the "419" scam because 419 is the article of the Nigerian penal code that prosecutes fraud. Your best defense against a Nigerian scam is not to fall for it in the first place.
Another name for this scam is the "advance-fee" scam because the fraudster asks you to pay money before you get the payoff (that never actually arrives). Here's how to avoid getting swindled by 419 fraud: Sometimes, multiple scammers will pose as one person; other times, one scammer will pose as a wealthy Nigerian, attorney, travel agent, lawyer, government official, etc. Everything the scammer tells you — their name, address, occupation, and sob story — is a complete lie.