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Fraud Center  Scams  The Nigerian Scam

The Nigerian Scam

The “Nigerian” Scam involves the use of counterfeit cashier’s checks used either as payment for items purchased on eBay or other classified ads selling merchandise.  Currently there are two widespread versions of this scam in use.  The bogus buyer advises the seller (usually via email or cell phone) that an associate in the United States has repaid a loan to him with a cashier’s check.  The cashier’s check that is sent to the seller as payment is generally for thousands of dollars more than the asking price for their merchandise.  The buyer then asks the seller to wire the excess funds back to the buyer, usually via Western Union and to a West African location, for shipping costs.  Generally there is not a hold put on cashier’s checks and by the time the check returns as counterfeit, the funds and the buyer are gone.

The second version of this fraud involves unsolicited letters or emails from a Nigerian government official asking for assistance in transferring millions of dollars out of the country.  The official proposes depositing the funds into a trustworthy U.S. bank account and the account holder in turn will receive a large percentage of the transferred funds.  When the unsuspecting consumer provides the required account info, the con artist drains the account of any available funds and disappears.  If you are the recipient of either of the above-described swindles go to www.bbb.org or email 419.fcd@usss.treas.gov.




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