There is a new version of the Nigerian email scam circulating in New Zealand that asks recipients to help a family of well-to-do Nigerians get their money out of the country.
The scam promises recipients a share in the family fortune. The latest version claims to be from an attorney who is a close confidant of “Mrs Maryam Abacha, the former first lady and wife of the late Gen. Sani Abacha, the former head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The email says Abacha (who does exist) needs help to get $US45 million out of Nigeria. Participants are told they stand to earn 20% with an extra 5% for travel and expenses if they’ll provide their personal phone and fax number.
Consumers’ Institute chief executive David Russell says such scams tend to come in waves.
“The Canadian ones have died off for now and we’re getting a lot of psychic ones,” says Russell. He says users can easily tell if these emails are real or not.
“The old line is: if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. I’ve modified that - if it sounds to good to be true it is - no probably about it.”
The institute has a website with advice on how to avoid such scams and it includes has an A-Z reference guide.
Many people, including New Zealanders, have been stung by such scams. According to the New Zealand Herald, former Auckland Citibank manager Graeme Rutherfurd was sentenced to six years and five months' jail after convincing five friends to lend him $7 million and losing it in a Nigerian investment scam.