Australians lose $36 million a year to Nigerian scam emails

It might be hard to believe, but it seems plenty of Australians are still falling for Nigerian scam emails and have sent more than $36 million to the African nation.

It might be hard to believe, but it seems plenty of Australians are still falling for Nigerian scam emails and have sent more than $36 million to the African nation.

The emails typically require the victim to hand over the bank account details of a small amount for the promise of a windfall, often into the tens of millions of dollars. The scammer then disappears with the money or asks the victim to send more money or risk missing out on the windfall.

Detective Superintendent Brian Hay, part of the Queensland Police fraud squad, told the Sydney Morning Herald that Australians send about $3 million to Nigeria each month, although the actual extent of Nigerian fraud could be much larger, as many victims were too embarrassed to report the crime.

According to the report, Queensland Police recently contacted 139 people who had sent money to Nigeria and found 135 were fraud victims. Some victims had lost up to $5 million.

Professionals and the elderly – particularly well-off self-funded retirees – are common victims.

Earlier this year, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission gave its “Pie in the Sky” award for a crazy investment scheme to a Nigerian scam that asked recipients to help a Togo barrister access $US17 million from the estate of a man who along with his family was killed in the Boxing Day tsunami three years ago.

Victims were encouraged to send an email – and some money – to claim to be the deceased’s next of kin. Of course, there was no inheritance.

Trending