If someone you are communicating with is a Nigerian scam artist, they are likely to exhibit telltale signs like asking for money and using awkward-sounding phrases. If someone you are dating online asks for money to come visit but never shows up, they could be running a scam, reports Mother Jones, a nonprofit news organization.
The two most common forms of Nigerian scams are email scams and dating scams. For the first, scammers send out mass emails containing letters in which they typically claim to be a wealthy person in need of help transferring a large sum of money into the U.S., states the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They promise to cut the recipient in on a portion of the money in exchange for help. If the bait is taken, the victim will be asked to provide personal bank account numbers under the guise that money will be deposited.
For the second scam, the con artists use dating sites and social media to troll for victims, often selecting divorced women and widows, says Mother Jones. The scammers initiate contact posing as an attractive single interested in dating. Once they have built up trust with their victim, the requests for money begin. The scammers justify their fraudulent activities by citing lack of employment opportunities and extreme poverty.