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Warnings against IT related crime, fraud and scams

This page contains warnings against the many frauds and scams on the net. Sadly a growing number of these are related to Africa and threatens to damage the image of Africa/Africans. Be careful communicating online on dating sites and such, as there are numerous ways you can get cheated in cyberspace.

In general: never give your mail, phone number or personal details to strangers. You cant always know who you are talking to on the net. Quite often the person you communicate with is not at all the person he/she claims to be. During the past few years IT scams has turned into big criminal business, often organised from Nigeria. The scams are carried out in big scale and they are highly organised and dangerous. In extreme cases people have lost millions of dollars or even suffered physical damage!

Hoax Letters / E-mails from Nigeria and other African countries

Warning against the so-called "419 scam"

E-mails with a friendly and very polite business suggestion from someone apparently living in Nigeria or other African countries shows up in my mailbox every week. Many of these mails can be traced back to Nigeria and some times from other African countries like D.R. Congo, Angola, Liberia, but the scams are in fact worldwide today. A coomon version is that the sender claims to have had a close connection with a former dictator or military leader, and that he/she has access to a large sum of money (usually from the government or some private company). The sender asks for help to transfer the money out of the country. This is said to be a risk free transaction and you will receive a large sum of money for helping him out. Don't even think about it! The stories vary in many ways and new versions of scams shows up all the time. Please note that the story can be different from what is described here and it might also be send from a non-African country. But no matter what: don't buy it and don't even send an answer! You can be sure that you will be the looser if you continue communication. Most people just waste their time, but in some cases people have lost millions in this way or even their lives!

In general you should always be careful with writing your e-mail address on public lists and guestbooks if you don't want to receive hoax letters, virus and spam. Follow the links below if you wish to report a scam or read more about this subject:

Dating sites

The newest version of the 419-scam is using Dating sites and Forums where people can get in touch with each other. Many profiles posted to dating sites and forums are fake. People use fake photos for their scams. I amwriting these pages because some of the photos abused are my property. Read more here.

Chain Mails

If you use e-mail I am sure you have also received lots of chain mails about some big problem. Somebody tells you that you can really make a difference simply by clicking a mail and not moving away from your comfortable armchair. Sounds too good to be true -and it is!

You know the type of mails... a friend has passed it on to you and asked you to put your name on a list or petition. Chances are that your friend didn't even read the entire message before sending it on.

Well, these mails might not be directly dangerous, but 99% are fake and we are all wasting so much time and energy on these mails. The stories and petitions are circulating for years with stories simply being pure fantasy. It simply doesn't make sense if you read it a bit closer and what is the point of all these petitions anyway. Even if the purpose of the mail might be a good one, the chain mail will NOT make a difference. It will never reach and it will never make any change. Serious aid organisations and NGOs will choose other ways of getting their message out.

Never put your names on these petitions and pass it on to your friends because you think you are doing a good thing. You are only wasting their time.

If in doubt you can easily do a search on Google or sites like BreakTheChain.org to find out whether a chain mail is true or not. Here are a few examples on Africa related chain mails. Read more on why you should not pass these mails on:

 

 

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