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Beware of Nigerian Investment Scams

A surprising number of people fall victim to these scams.

Many churches, and church members, have received letters in recent years purporting to be from Nigeria and promising a huge financial windfall in exchange for a small investment.

Nigerian "advance-fee fraud" has been around for decades, but now seems to have reached epidemic proportions. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) some citizens are receiving dozens of offers a day from supposed Nigerians politely promising big profits in exchange for help moving large sums of money out of their country. And apparently, many compassionate citizens are continuing to fall for the convincing sob stories, the polite language, and the unequivocal promises of money. These advance-fee solicitations are scams, according to the FTC.

Here is a typical scenario. Claiming to be Nigerian officials, businesspeople or the surviving spouses of former government officials, con artists offer to ...

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  • February 2, 2004