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How to Spot This Phishing Email

Just when you thought it was safe to open your inbox, the notorious Nigerian prince email scam is back with a new twist. For decades, we’ve been warned not to respond to messages promising riches from a mysterious foreign prince, typically claiming to be from Nigeria. But scammers are endlessly inventive when it comes to trying to fleece people of their money.

As victims caught on, the scam has evolved. Now, there’s a new take on an old scam straight from the Nigerian scheme playbook.

What Is the Nigerian Prince Scam?

The Nigerian Prince scam, also known as the “419 scam”, is an infamous email-based scam where cybercriminals, who can be anywhere around the world, claim to be a Nigerian prince or any rich government official in distress, seeking help with moving a large sum of money out of Nigeria. The email is typically an urgent plea for help with promises of substantial financial reward in return for a small upfront payment to help “process the funds.”

Of course, this is all made-up and your distressed, so-called Nigerian prince could be a regular guy in Nigeria or maybe some random person in Cincinnati, Missouri, London, Mumbai… or literally anywhere in the world.

Anyone who responds and follows with such an email will end up being scammed out of their money instead. Interestingly, despite being one of the most exposed type of scam, the Nigerian prince scam still works due to the ability of the con artists to adapt to current events. Now, thanks to the political situation in the Republic of Niger, we have a new twist.

How Has the Nigerian Prince Scam Changed?

According to multiple reports, including from CNBCTV18, due to the 2023 military coup in the Republic of Niger, malicious actors are sending out emails claiming to be high-ranking government officials trapped in the West African country, in need of help moving a large sum of money out of the country.

a protester with a Nigerian flag

In one such email, the alleged fraudsters claim to be an intermediary representing a minister from Niger Republic who is trying to move around $47 million out of the country. The email offers potential victims a 30 percent cut of the sum if they are able to successfully facilitate the transaction. The emails are sent out from a “” address linked to a domain that seems to belong to an Indian University. It’s strange for an African intermediary and government official trying to smuggle illicit funds out of Niger to use such an email…

While the story changes, the manipulation of human emotions and greed remains alarmingly effective. So, if that minister from Niger ends up in your mailbox, you’re not about to hit a windfall. You’re not going to get rich off some minister’s loot. Don’t let an imaginary prince or minister fleece you of your hard-earned money.

How to Protect Yourself From the Nigerian Prince Scam

Previously, this type of scam was characterized by poor spelling and grammar. However, with the rise of AI tools, it’s not hard to compose a smooth scam email with good grammar. No matter how professional an email sounds, the golden rule remains the same: be skeptical of any offers that seem too good to be true—they almost always are.

Years ago, it was a Spanish prisoner. And then it was a Nigerian prince. Today, it is a minister from Niger. Even if it’s an astronaut lost in space (which is an actual scam strategy), never wire money or provide bank account information to someone you met online. Don’t let a moment of greed or emotional stories override your logic and skepticism. By staying cautious, you can avoid all forms of phishing scam.

Scams Always Evolve: Stay Vigilant

As quickly as we learn to spot current scams, new schemes arise to take their place. The classic Nigerian Prince scam continues adapting to the times with new stories, new technology, and manipulation tactics tailored to today’s context. Even experienced internet users can be fooled when scammers play on empathy or greed. Never assume you are immune to being scammed. Be alert and stay vigilant.


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