0

I have paid a guy in Nigeria in the context that there is a package coming to me in Kuwait. He has been asking for money again anad again and has been swearing that once this payment is done, the package will reach me. I am in a financial crisis because of this and also, under tremendous debt. I want to know if there is anyway I can get my money back that I have paid through Western Union. Also, I want to know if I am being scammed.

| improve this question | | | | |
  • 3
    What is this guy in Nigeria supposed to be sending you? – RonJohn Jan 30 at 15:09
  • 12
    I'm sorry but there is no package. The money you've sent is gone. You've been scammed. You should cease all communication with this person even though their phone calls will become increasingly urgent, demanding, and threatening. – MonkeyZeus Jan 30 at 16:28
  • 4
    You haven't said anything about what this is, or how you met this person from Nigeria, or the context of what it is that you're getting. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 30 at 16:39
  • 2
    @glglgl hogwash. Lots of scams questions are asked before the money/credentials have been sent. – RonJohn Jan 30 at 17:45
  • 1
    @RonJohn I'm sure you know that the package is a suitcase stuffed with US $100 notes, or gold coins, or conflict diamonds, or somesuch. – mustaccio Jan 31 at 0:16
19

This has all the hallmarks of a scam: Mentioning Nigeria, promises of personal gain, multiple payments til it hurts with the repeated promise that one more payment will get the desired item. I'll also bet each payment has been about 250% (between double and triple) of the previous payment.

These are all textbook, formula scams. And they are so because they work.

The scammer knows perfectly well that if they somewhat more than double their payment demand, will eventually run out of money, so they will not be surprised when the payments stop coming.

Why they mention Nigeria, specifically

Understand how scams work in the modern age. The Internet is the source of 90+% of their victims. This gives them a huge list of potential targets -- too many in fact. The precious resource is actually the scammer's valuable time, so the key to profit is to avoid wasting time on people who are not gullible.

Microsoft Research actually put out a research paper on why scammers say they're from Nigeria specifically, when most of us associate "Nigeria" with "scam". It's for that very reason. They want to make sure the savvy of us don't respond, leaving only - no offense - the gullible.

Why you get suckered in even further

First, they are very persuasive. That is their job, and they are very good at their job.

Second, they are preying on a concept already in your mind, called the "Fallacy of sunk costs". I.E. that you've already invested so much, it'll be a total loss of that investment if you don't put in "a little more".

Humans have a sense of how much they'll fall for that fallacy. Scammers have learned it's around 250% (2-3 times) the last payment. So things progress like $400 -> $1000 -> $2500 -> $6000 -> $15,000 etc.

The way to break out of the fallacy is to recognize the fact that all the money you have sunk, or will sink, is 100% gone and is never coming back.

Clawing back the money

Scam victims typically ask "How can I get the money back?"

Scammers know you will want to do that. So they deliberately choose payment methods which are irreversible. Again, this is their advantage -- they know a great deal about how the banking system works, and you know very little. So they are using their knowledge to take advantage of you.

The place you went wrong on this was by not looking for advice and help from others beforehand, and relying on this stranger's advice only.

| improve this answer | | | | |
10

No, you can't reverse a Western Union money order once the funds have been paid to the recipient. Odds are you were scammed. If you have legitimate contact information for the individual you can attempt to get authorities involved, but don't put too much hope in there being any recovery of your funds or consequences for the individual.

| improve this answer | | | | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.