What do “419” scams look like? An individual may contact you, often through e-mail, explaining that he needs help transferring a large amount of money. He tells you that political turmoil or a recent natural disaster in his country has affected his ability to transfer the money on his own. If you help him, he will allow you to keep some of the funds for yourself.
The scammer asks you to give him your financial information — including your bank account number — so he can complete the transfer. This allows him to access and steal from your accounts.
In another version of this scam, the caller may require that you to pay a fee in order to facilitate the transfer. Once you pay the fraudster, and he sees that you’re willing to give him money, he continues to invent extra costs that he needs you to cover. As long as you keep paying, he keeps coming up with more expenses.
Regardless of which method the fraudsters use, these victims never see the promised jackpot.
So, how can you protect yourself?
* Don’t give anyone your bank account number or other financial information that could allow him to access your accounts.
* Don’t send money to strangers, unsolicited contacts or people you don’t know face-to-face.
* Don’t transfer money on behalf of other people.
* Don’t trust anything that seems like an easy way to make a lot of money. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you have been victimized by this scam or any other online scam, report your suspicious contacts to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office.