Sometimes I swear life plays jokes on us.
Take this recent news story for instance. Nigerian police uncovered more than $43 million in U.S. dollar notes from an apartment in Nigeria this month. They say “the funds are suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.”
It’s not exactly clear where the money came from, or whether it came from a popular scam, but police believe it’s definitely sketchy.
If you’ve been around the internet long enough, you’ve probably received an email from someone claiming to live in Nigeria. They’ll claim to be royalty (Nigerian prince, anyone?). a successful businessman or a government official whose money is temporarily tied up.
They promise to transfer tons of that money if you’ll pay the fees or taxes they need to get that money.
Of course, these folks are trying to steal your money or your identity—or both. Even still, people fall for it.
“These messages are the butt of late night jokes, but people still respond to them,” says the Federal Trade Commission.
Which is why the entire internet collectively cracked up when news of the found cash broke.
One Twitter user wrote: “Dang! That Prince sent me an email to tell me that he had this money and needed my help. I thought it was a scam.”
Another woman wrote, “Maybe I should email that Nigerian prince back, after all.”
Another guy tweeted: “So that Prince DID have money to send to me!”
So that Prince DID have money to send to me!
— Jadrian Wooten (@Wootenomics) April 17, 2017
Jokes aside, don’t fall for this type of scam in the future.
Here’s what the Federal Trade Commission suggests:
“These emails can really tug at your heartstrings and appeal to your sense of altruism. Successful scam artists know exactly how to get you to give up your money. If you get an email asking you to send money to help out a stranger, delete it. Someone is up to no good, and trying to manipulate your emotions.”
If you’ve already been scammed this way, the FTC suggests calling your local Secret Service field office.