Some time earlier, we had written in our blog that email scamming is becoming a lucrative crime business, and that it appears to be on the rise.
419 scams (aka Advanced Fee Scam/Fraud) is the most prevalent among the various types of scams, and they come in various forms including heritage (someone died), lottery (which u didn’t play), stolen cash, etc.
The scammers will come up with some stories about a large sum of money waiting for a foreigner to help transfer out. The only catch is that the foreigner has to pay the scammer a fee before he can “collect the money”, after which he will never see the money that was promised.
The scammers appear to come from everywhere other than just Africa, including countries in Europe, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Iraq, and most recently Hong Kong.
Assuming that the internet usage data is accurate, the number of internet users around the world has risen by almost 220% (source:]]> InternetWorldStats.com) since 2000, to more than 2 billion users today.
The larger population of users on the internet will mean the increase in both scammers and victims. We should not assume that everyone is the same. While we can expect most internet users to be smart and dubious about offers that are “too good to be true”, there will always be some of those who are just plain naive, misinformed, or at the weakest point in their life (e.g. need cash very urgently).
The best defense against such widespread scam is sharing of information, forwarding of warnings to friends, and broadcasting in the news. Internet users will continue to rise with the increase in world population, thus one of the best way to educate new users is through the ISP. Use of anti-scam brochures or inserts in the sign-up form, for example, may save life.