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All of that have dating websites, but scammers develop fake identities, so we have an indirect victim. Well - pictures from online dating sites out of guys who is single woman, but instead of these scams: military romance scammers. Learn how to chat with this summarizes, these photos, and e-mails. Whether you have been personally affected by scams or fraud or are interested in learning more, the AARP Fraud Watch Network advocates on your behalf and equips you with the knowledge you need to feel more informed and confidently spot and avoid scams.
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Share with twitter. Share with linkedin. Share using email. Have you seen this scam? Warning Signs You get an unsolicited email from someone claiming to be a foreign dignitary or executive. Do be skeptical of any promise of a huge payoff for your cooperation in a fund-transfer scheme. Do contact your local FBI or U.
Secret Service field office if you or someone you know has become enmeshed in a scam. If you are corresponding with or being harassed by a scammer, contact your nearest FBI or U.
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The number "" refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud, the charges and penalties for offenders. The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail , and is now prevalent in online communications like emails. Other variations include the Spanish Prisoner scam and the black money scam.
The modern scam is similar to the Spanish Prisoner scam which dates back to the late 18th century. In exchange for assistance, the scammer promised to share money with the victim in exchange for a small amount of money to bribe prison guards. The modern day transnational scam can be traced back to Germany in ,  and became popular during the s. There are many variants of the letters sent. One of these, sent via postal mail, was addressed to a woman's husband, and inquired about his health.
Other official-looking letters were sent from a writer who said he was a director of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. To get the process started, the scammer asked for a few sheets of the company's letterhead, bank account numbers, and other personal information. The spread of e-mail and email harvesting software significantly lowered the cost of sending scam letters by using the Internet.
For example, in the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission stated that scam emails more frequently originated in other African countries or in Eastern Europe. One reason Nigeria may have been singled out is the apparently comical, almost ludicrous nature of the promise of West African riches from a Nigerian prince.
They refer to their targets as Maga or Mugu , slang developed from a Yoruba word meaning 'easy target' or 'fool' and referring to gullible people in general. Some scammers have accomplices in the United States and abroad who move in to finish the deal once the initial contact has been made. This scam usually begins with the perpetrator contacting the victim via email , instant messaging or social media using a fake email address or a fake social media account and making an offer that would allegedly result in a large payoff for the victim.
The details vary, but the usual story is that a person, often a government or bank employee, knows of a large amount of unclaimed money or gold which they cannot access directly, usually because they have no right to it. Such people, who may be real but impersonated people or fictitious characters played by the con artist , could include, for example, the wife or son of a deposed African leader who has amassed a stolen fortune, a bank employee who knows of a terminally ill wealthy person with no relatives, or a wealthy foreigner who deposited money in the bank just before dying in a plane crash leaving no will or known next of kin ,  a US soldier who has stumbled upon a hidden cache of gold in Iraq, a business being audited by the government, a disgruntled worker or corrupt government official who has embezzled funds, a refugee,  and similar characters.
The money could be in the form of gold bullion , gold dust, money in a bank account, blood diamonds , a series of checks or bank drafts, and so forth [ citation needed ]. The sums involved are usually in the millions of dollars, and the investor is promised a large share, typically ten to forty percent, in return for assisting the fraudster to retrieve or expatriate the money.
Although the vast majority of recipients do not respond to these emails, a very small percentage do, enough to make the fraud worthwhile, as many millions of messages can be sent daily. To help persuade the victim to agree to the deal, the scammer often sends one or more false documents which bear official government stamps , and seals. Often a photograph used by a scammer is not a picture of any person involved in the scheme. Multiple "people" may write or be involved in schemes as they continue, but they are often fictitious; in many cases, one person controls many fictitious personae all used in scams.
Once the victim's confidence has been gained, the scammer then introduces a delay or monetary hurdle that prevents the deal from occurring as planned, such as "To transmit the money, we need to bribe a bank official. Could you help us with a loan? This is the money being stolen from the victim; the victim willingly transfers the money, usually through some irreversible channel such as a wire transfer , and the scammer receives and pockets it.
More delays and additional costs are added, always keeping the promise of an imminent large transfer alive, convincing the victim that the money the victim is currently paying is covered several times over by the payoff [ citation needed ].
Sometimes psychological pressure is added by claiming that the Nigerian side, to pay certain fees, had to sell belongings and borrow money on a house, or by comparing the salary scale and living conditions in Africa to those in the West [ citation needed ]. Much of the time, however, the needed psychological pressure is self-applied; once the victims have provided money toward the payoff, they feel they have a vested interest in seeing the "deal" through.
Some victims even believe they can cheat the other party, and walk away with all the money instead of just the percentage they were promised. The essential fact in all advance-fee fraud operations is the promised money transfer to the victim never happens, because the money does not exist. During the course of many schemes, scammers ask victims to supply bank account information.
Usually this is a "test" devised by the scammer to gauge the victim's gullibility ;  the bank account information isn't used directly by the scammer, because a fraudulent withdrawal from the account is more easily detected, reversed, and traced. Scammers instead usually request that payments be made using a wire transfer service like Western Union and MoneyGram. The real reason is that wire transfers and similar methods of payment are irreversible, untraceable and, because identification beyond knowledge of the details of the transaction is often not required, completely anonymous.
Telephone numbers used by scammers tend to come from burner phones. In Ivory Coast a scammer may purchase an inexpensive mobile phone and a pre-paid SIM card without submitting any identifying information. If the scammers believe they are being traced, they discard their mobile phones and purchase new ones.
Recipient addresses and email content are copied and pasted into a webmail interface using a stand-alone storage medium, such as a memory card [ citation needed ]. Nigeria also contains many businesses that provide false documents used in scams. After a scam involving a forged signature of Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in summer , Nigerian authorities raided a market in the Oluwole section of Lagos;  the police seized thousands of Nigerian and non-Nigerian passports, 10, blank British Airways boarding passes, 10, United States Postal money orders , customs documents, false university certificates, printing plates, and computers.
The "success rate" of the scammers is also hard to gauge, since they are operating illegally and do not keep track of specific numbers. One individual estimated he sent emails per day and received about seven replies, citing that when he received a reply, he was 70 percent certain he would get the money. In recent years, efforts have been made by governments, internet companies, and individuals to combat scammers involved in advance-fee fraud and scams.
They hoped to have the service, dubbed "Eagle Claw", running at full capacity to warn a quarter of a million potential victims. Some individuals participate in a practice known as scam baiting , in which they pose as potential targets and engage the scammers in lengthy dialogue so as to waste the scammer's time and decrease the time they have available for real victims. A central element of advance-fee fraud is the transaction from the victim to the scammer must be untraceable and irreversible.
Otherwise, the victim, once they become aware of the scam, can successfully retrieve their money and alert officials who can track the accounts used by the scammer. Wire transfers via Western Union and MoneyGram are ideal for this purpose. International wire transfers cannot be cancelled or reversed, and the person receiving the money cannot be tracked.
Other non-cancellable forms of payment include postal money orders and cashier's checks, but wire transfer via Western Union or MoneyGram is more common. Cryptocurrency payments are also used. Since the scammer's operations must be untraceable to avoid identification, and because the scammer is often impersonating someone else, any communication between the scammer and his victim must be done through channels that hide the scammer's true identity [ citation needed ].
The following options in particular are widely used. Because many free email services do not require valid identifying information, and also allow communication with many victims in a short span of time, they are the preferred method of communication for scammers [ citation needed ].
Some services go so far as to mask the sender's source IP address Gmail being a common choice , making the scammer more difficult to trace to the country of origin. While Gmail does indeed strip headers from emails, it is, in fact, possible to trace an IP address from such an email. Scammers can create as many accounts as they wish, and often have several at a time. In addition, if email providers are alerted to the scammer's activities and suspend the account, it is a trivial matter for the scammer to simply create a new account to resume scamming.
Some fraudsters hijack existing email accounts and use them for advance-fee fraud purposes. The fraudster impersonates associates, friends, or family members of the legitimate account owner in an attempt to defraud them. Facsimile machines are commonly used tools of business, whenever a client requires a hard copy of a document. Thus, scammers posing as business entities often use fax transmissions as an anonymous form of communication.
This is more expensive, as the prepaid phone and fax equipment cost more than email, but to a skeptical victim, it can be more believable. Abusing SMS bulk senders such as WASPs , scammers subscribe to these services using fraudulent registration details and paying either via cash or stolen credit card details [ citation needed ]. They then send out masses of unsolicited SMSes to victims stating they have won a competition, lottery, reward, or an event, and they have to contact somebody to claim their prize.
Typically the details of the party to be contacted will be an equally untraceable email address or a virtual telephone number. These messages may be sent over a weekend when the staff at the service providers are not working, enabling the scammer to be able to abuse the services for a whole weekend. Even when traceable, they give out long and winding procedures for procuring the reward real or unreal and that too with the impending huge cost of transportation and tax or duty charges. A recent mid innovation is the use of a Premium Rate 'call back' number instead of a website or email in the SMS.
On calling the number, the victim is first reassured that 'they are a winner' and then subjected to a long series of instructions on how to collect their 'winnings'. During the message, there will be frequent instructions to 'ring back in the event of problems'. The call is always 'cut off' just before the victim has the chance to note all the details.
Some victims call back multiple times in an effort to collect all the details. The scammer thus makes their money out of the fees charged for the calls. Many scams use telephone calls to convince the victim that the person on the other end of the deal is a real, truthful person. The scammer, possibly impersonating a person of a nationality, or gender, other than their own, would arouse suspicion by telephoning the victim.
The scammer may claim they are deaf, and that they must use a relay service. The victim, possibly drawn in by sympathy for a disabled caller, might be more susceptible to the fraud. FCC regulations and confidentiality laws require operators to relay calls verbatim and adhere to a strict code of confidentiality and ethics. Thus, no relay operator may judge the legality and legitimacy of a relay call and must relay it without interference. This means the relay operator may not warn victims, even when they suspect the call is a scam.
Tracking phone-based relay services is relatively easy, so scammers tend to prefer Internet Protocol-based relay services such as IP Relay. In a common strategy, they bind their overseas IP address to a router or server located on US soil, allowing them to use US-based relay service providers without interference. TRS is sometimes used to relay credit card information to make a fraudulent purchase with a stolen credit card. In many cases however, it is simply a means for the con artist to further lure the victim into the scam.
Sometimes, victims are invited to a country to meet government officials, an associate of the scammer, or the scammer themselves. Some victims who travel are instead held for ransom. Scammers may tell a victim that they do not need a visa , or that the scammers will provide one.
Sometimes victims are ransomed, kidnapped or murdered. According to a U. State Department report, over fifteen persons were murdered between and in Nigeria after following through on advance-fee frauds. There are many variations on the most common stories, and also many variations on the way the scam works.
Some of the more commonly seen variants involve employment scams , lottery scams , online sales and rentals, and romance scams. Many scams involve online sales, such as those advertised on websites such as Craigslist and eBay , or property rental. This article cannot list every known and future type of advanced fee fraud or scheme; only some major types are described. Additional examples may be available in the external links section at the end of this article.
The scammer sends a letter with a falsified company logo. The job offer usually indicates exceptional salary and benefits, and requests that the victim needs a "work permit" for working in the country, and includes the address of a fake "government official" to contact. The "government official" then proceeds to fleece the victim by extracting fees from the unsuspecting user for the work permit and other fees.
A variant of the job scam recruits freelancers seeking work, such as editing or translation, then requires some advance payment before assignments are offered. Many [ quantify ] legitimate or at least fully registered companies work on a similar basis, using this method as their primary source of earnings.
Some modelling and escort agencies tell applicants that they have a number of clients lined up, but that they require some sort of prior "registration fee", usually paid in by an untraceable method, e. The scammer contacts the victim to interest them in a "work-at-home" opportunity, or asks them to cash a check or money order that for some reason cannot be redeemed locally.
In one cover story, the perpetrator of the scam wishes the victim to work as a "mystery shopper", evaluating the service provided by MoneyGram or Western Union locations within major retailers such as Wal-Mart. Later the check is not honoured and the bank debits the victim's account. Schemes based solely on check cashing usually offer only a small part of the check's total amount, with the assurance that many more checks will follow; if the victim buys into the scam and cashes all the checks, the scammer can steal a lot in a very short time.
More sophisticated scams advertise jobs with real companies and offer lucrative salaries and conditions with the fraudsters pretending to be recruitment agents. A bogus telephone or online interview may take place and after some time the applicant is informed that the job is theirs.
To secure the job they are instructed to send money for their work visa or travel costs to the agent, or to a bogus travel agent who works on the scammer's behalf. No matter what the variation, they always involve the job seeker sending them or their agent money, credit card or bank account details.
Instead, their personal information is harvested during the application process and then sold to third parties for a profit, or used for identity theft. Another form of employment scam involves making people receive a fake "interview" where they are told the benefits of the company. The attendees are then made to assist to a conference where a scammer will use elaborate manipulation techniques to convince the attendees to purchase products, in a similar manner to the catalog merchant business model, as a hiring requisite.
Quite often, the company lacks any form of the physical catalog to help them sell products e. When "given" the job, the individual is then asked to promote the scam job offer on their own. They are also made to work the company unpaid as a form of "training". These scammers do internet searches on various companies to obtain hiring managers' names. They then advertise job offers on job search engines.
The job hunter will then apply for the position with a resume. The person applying for the position will get a message almost instantly from a common usually free email account, asking for credentials. The scammer will sometimes request that the victim has an Instant Messenger chat to obtain more information. The scammer guarantees employment, usually through automated computer programs that have a certain algorithm, with "canned responses" in broken English.
At this point, it is usually too late and the process has already begun. If the victim questions the integrity of the process, the computer program may call them a "scammer" and can be quite vulgar. Quite often, the fraudulent negotiables are still sent to the address on the victim's resume, even after the fake online rant. The scammer sends the victim fraudulent negotiables, assuring them that they get to keep part of the funds. They will expect the victim to send the remainder to various parties that they specify, under the guise that they are legitimate business contacts.
This is a money laundering scheme, as the victim becomes a pawn in the filtering process. The process continues until the victim catches on, or even gets caught. As the representative, the job involves receiving cash payments and depositing payments received from "customers" into one's account and remitting the rest to the overseas business bank account.
This is essentially money laundering. The lottery scam involves fake notices of lottery wins, although the intended victim has not entered the lottery. In addition to harvesting this information, the scammer then notifies the victim that releasing the funds requires some small fee insurance, registration, or shipping.
Once the victim sends the fee, the scammer invents another fee. The fake check technique described above is also used. Fake or stolen checks, representing a part payment of the winnings, being sent; then a fee, smaller than the amount received, is requested. The bank receiving the bad check eventually reclaims the funds from the victim. Typical lottery scams address the person as some variation of Lucky Winner.
This is a red flag as if you entered an actual lottery and won, they would know your name, and not just call you Lucky Winner. Many scams involve the purchase of goods and services via classified advertisements, especially on sites like Craigslist , eBay , or Gumtree.
These typically involve the scammer contacting the seller of a particular good or service via telephone or email expressing interest in the item. They will typically then send a fake check written for an amount greater than the asking price, asking the seller to send the difference to an alternate address, usually by money order or Western Union. A seller eager to sell a particular product may not wait for the check to clear, and when the bad check bounces, the funds wired have already been lost.
Some scammers advertise phony academic conferences in exotic or international locations, complete with fake websites, scheduled agendas and advertising experts in a particular field that will be presenting there.
They offer to pay the airfare of the participants, but not the hotel accommodations. They will extract money from the victims when they attempt to reserve their accommodations in a non-existent hotel. They usually state they are not yet in the country and wish to secure accommodations prior to arriving.
Once the terms are negotiated, a forged check is forwarded for a greater amount than negotiated, and the fraudster asks the landlord to wire some of the money back. This is a variation of the online sales scam where high-value, scarce pets are advertised as bait on online advertising websites using little real seller verification like Craigslist , Gumtree , and JunkMail.
The pet may either be advertised as being for-sale or up for adoption. Typically the pet is advertised on online advertising pages complete with photographs taken from various sources such as real advertisements, blogs or wherever an image can be stolen. Upon the potential victim contacting the scammer, the scammer responds by asking for details pertaining to the potential victim's circumstances and location under the pretense of ensuring that the pet would have a suitable home.
By determining the location of the victim, the scammer ensures he is far enough from the victim so as to not allow the buyer to physically view the pet. Should the scammer be questioned, as the advertisement claimed a location initially, the scammer will claim work circumstances having forced him to relocate. This forces a situation whereby all communication is either via email, telephone normally untraceable numbers and SMS. Upon the victim deciding to adopt or purchase the pet, a courier has to be used which is in reality part of the scam.
If this is for an adopted pet, typically the victim is expected to pay some fee such as insurance, food or shipping. Payment is via MoneyGram, Western Union or money mules' bank accounts where other victims have been duped into work from home scams. Numerous problems are encountered in the courier phase of the scam. The crate is too small and the victim has the option of either purchasing a crate with air conditioning or renting one while also paying a deposit, typically called a caution or cautionary fee.
The victim may also have to pay for insurance if such fees have not been paid yet. If the victim pays these fees, the pet may become sick and a veterinarian's assistance is sought for which the victim has to repay the courier. Additionally, the victim may be asked to pay for a health certificate needed to transport the pet, and for kennel fees during the recuperation period.
The further the scam progresses, the more similar are the fictitious fees to those of typical scams. It is not uncommon to see customs or like fees being claimed if such charges fit into the scam plot. Numerous scam websites may be used for this scam. These days, the scams, which are conducted mostly online, via email and messaging apps, are often referred to as Yahoo Yahoo.
They are usually romance scams, or phishing, which FBI special agent Michael Nail once referred to as "modern-day bank robbery". Source: UK police's Action Fraud centre. The next group comprised young, educated men who were frustrated by the lack of formal jobs in an economy ruined by a series of military dictatorships and years of mismanagement. They had observed the scammers establish legitimate businesses from fraudulent funds, and become respected philanthropists or politicians in senior leadership positions.
These people are the inspiration for many up-and-coming scammers, and many young Nigerians consider scamming a career path and a valid source of income. In May, Nigeria's anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC , raided a "Yahoo Yahoo training school" in the commercial capital Lagos, arrested the proprietor, and eight students who were allegedly being taught skills to carry out cyber fraud. The FBI's intermittent busts always lead to national shock and embarrassment, and a period of collective soul-searching no matter how brief.
The local media has provided a stream of headlines and commentary about Mr Okeke and the other men indicted - whom we must remember are innocent until proven guilty in court - while various experts have suggested what can be done to turn young Nigerians away from the wide and wicked path. Videos have circulated of the accused men engaged in lavish displays of wealth, such as throwing a party where guests danced on a floor covered in dollar notes and having a "champagne bath", drenched from top to toe in the expensive wine.
One man on the FBI's list was on the inauguration committee of a newly elected state governor barely three months ago. The BBC has not verified the authenticity of the videos and photos. They are our brothers' friends, friends' husbands, dates, or relatives who genuflect as they smile sweetly and say to us: "Good morning, Auntie.
These fraudsters flash their lavish lifestyles in our faces. We attend their ostentatious weddings and parties. They are the special guests at our events. Our community and humanitarian projects benefit from their largess.
But we feel immensely ashamed when their names feature on FBI lists or when they are arrested. They become a national disgrace. If convicted, Mr Okeke faces up to 30 years in jail, experts say. His court case will resume in February Nigerians are particularly worried that the scams might hamper international recognition of the country's young entrepreneurs, and the granting of visas to those with legitimate business interests in the US.
There is also that part of some Nigerians that cannot help but admire these young scammers - the ingenuity and audacity that enables them to swipe, with ease, millions of dollars from American neuroscientists, British CEOs and German scholars. Imagine if these young criminals had better role models and opportunities. Imagine how much they could contribute to the advancement of humankind.
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This situation comes up more oft Dating online is most people's go-to way to discover their prince charming or princess of their dreams. However, scammers know just how badly people w What is Catfishing on Ashley Madison? Ashley Madison is the best of what modern relationships have to offer the cheaters of the world. Their tag li Are you looking for hidden online profiles? You've been talking to someone online, and you start getting suspicions and you're getting some signs that you might be catfished.
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Learn more here. Hire A Search Specialist. The Financial Repercussions: These four examples show just how varied the scams can be. Related Articles. Phishing Scams: How to Protect Yourself from Attacks Posted December 10, by Jenni Walker Phishing is an attempt to obtain private information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card information from innocent victims online.
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When will the pain end? How do I stop this heartache? These are questions I asked myself when I was trying to recover from being scammed. When it happened to me I felt like a big hole had opened up beneath me and I had fallen in. I felt abandoned, lost, like I had lost everything that had any meaning for me. I was in short devastated! I had built my life around this fantasy that the scammer created for me. I just could not wrap my mind around what had just happened.
Slowly, as I came out of the fog, I realized that some of the feelings I had were similar to when my son passed away. At first I denied it to myself. Even though I had researched online and found all the red flags and knew he was a scammer I denied it. Then I got angry! I was as angry as I had ever been in my life.
I wanted to find this creep and heavens knows what I would have done! Tie him up maybe and tickle his feet with feathers til he screamed for mercy? I actually could feel again. Then I started saying to myself, if you forget about this guy and try to find someone new everything will be alright! Then came the blues in wave upon wave.
I cried and moaned and felt completely miserable and out of touch. I kept telling myself it was all lies and that would bring on a fresh bout of tears. I felt like everything was hopeless and there was nothing left of the world I had known. One morning I decided to go online and do some research and found a lot of helpful links on romance scams that led me to a romance scams group. I went into their chat room and found acceptance there.
I mean literally found acceptance. All the members had been through what I had been through. They understood every nuance of this horrible crime and what it does to you mentally and emotionally. Slowly but surely I was climbing out of that hole and starting to see the world again through clearer, but wiser eyes. Now I realize that I went through the Five Stages of Grief, just as one does when you lose a loved one, in my case my son. It occurs to me that when you are scammed in a romance scam, you feel that this person is the perfect mate that you have been looking for all your life.
He becomes part of your family so to speak and you feel like he is going to be a permanent part of your life. When it all falls apart it is like losing a loved one that you cherished and adored. There is no set timetable for this grieving process. Some work their way through it in a few weeks or months.
Others have a harder time and it might take them much longer. The thing is not to put pressure on yourself. Take it at your own pace. Allow yourself as much time as you need to go through all the emotions you are feeling. Tears are healing. When you feel up to it, find a support or help group there are a lot on the web.
Talk about your feelings. They will understand as they have been through it themselves. Your family and friends can be supportive and helpful too. However sometimes you need to talk to others that have been through it themselves. In some cases you may need to seek professional help. Do not be afraid of that either. If you need help get it. You will see that slowly you will accept what has happened to you and you will be able to make your peace with it.
You will realize that you are still that same loving, giving, caring person, but that you are wiser and more aware. You will understand that you are still capable of making good judgments and wise decisions. Allow yourself to go through the stages of grief. It is a helpful process that enables you to get through the experience and being able to recognize the stages enables you to climb out of that hole and move forward with your life.
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself online from a romance scammer or even a scammer is to learn how to find the full header in each email you receive and then learn how to take that header and find the IP address indicating where the email originated.
Each email program will have similar methods for finding the full header. For the purposes of this instruction I will use Yahoo email. Yahoo appears to be the most used by scammers, however they do use Hotmail, GMail and others. What you generally will not find is a scammer using a local ISP email which is the email address you receive when you sign up for internet service at your home. The main reason for this is that the scammers are not using home computers, but are sitting in internet cafes using public computers to send the emails they use to scam us.
Therefore, they will be using web-based email services, and Yahoo is the most popular choice. To find the full header in an email, first open your email inbox. Other web-based email providers methods vary but may be similar to this. Click an individual email to open. Once you have it open, you will see a toolbar across the top of the actual email. Click on the cogwheel and a menu box will pop up.
Click on that option. You will want to highlight the entire contents of this pop-up box and right click your mouse button to copy the highlighted field. In a separate tab or window you will need to have open one of the following websites. The results will give you information on the originating country and originating city that the email you received was sent from.
The results most likely are going to show Lagos, Nigeria, or Accra, Ghana. There are some cases where the IP address is going to show up in the general area the person claims to be located. If this happens, you will need to continue your research to make sure. The scammers have ways of masking their IP address so as to fool their intended victims. Finding out someone claiming to be in your state is actually in Nigeria or Ghana, however, will tell you right away that this is a scammer attempting to trick you into giving your money to him.
There are times that by the time you have learned how to check the IP address, the person you are talking to has already claimed to have been sent to Nigeria or Ghana for some job or business reason. At that point their emails will show Nigeria or Ghana and will not be so questionable. What IS questionable is that anyone you might be talking to would ever be sent to Nigeria or Ghana in the first place.
If the IP address you have found points to either Nigeria or Ghana or even Malaysia or some other country where the person is not supposed to be located you can pretty much know that this is a scammer. GMail is the one email that tracking an IP address is difficult. This is because apparently Google has chosen to mask all email IP addresses of its users.
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