Before I get to today’s fraud prevention rule-of-thumb, I want to make it clear that I am in no way disparaging the people or the culture of Nigeria.
However, it’s also a fact that a certain type of scam originated in Nigeria, and is even named after a section of their criminal code (the illustrious Nigerian 419 Scam). So here’s our rule:
If you get an email or a letter that has anything at all to do with Nigeria and money, it is fraudulent.
This includes phone numbers, websites and email addresses, too; if the message includes a really long phone number that starts with the International Dialing Code “234” or a web/email address ending in “.ng,” it’s a scam.
Of course, since almost all of these scams involve strangers offering you large sums of money, if you’ve already read certain other Fraud Prevention Template articles, you won’t even need to know what country code top-level domain Nigerian URLs have.
Naturally, there are plenty of 419 scams that don’t involve Nigeria at all. This is just one quick litmus test.