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Shine Your Eye: 3 Ways to Spot a Fraud in Nigeria

Victor Odogwu
Published: May 29, 2024

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Fraud is a growing concern in Nigeria, with scammers constantly developing new tactics to deceive people out of their hard-earned money. At Sterling Bank, it is our duty to educate customers on how to protect themselves from these unscrupulous activities. Let us explore some common fraud schemes and tips to identify them.



Phishing Scams

Phishing is a widespread form of fraud where scammers impersonate legitimate organizations (like banks or government agencies) to trick you into revealing sensitive information like login credentials or account numbers. These scams often come in the form of fake emails, text messages, or phone calls.


How to spot a phishing attempt:

– Check for poor grammar, spelling errors, or use of unusual phrases in the message

– Hover over any links to verify the actual URL before clicking

– Be wary of urgent requests for personal or financial information

– Contact the bank through verified channels to confirm the legitimacy of the request



Advance-Fee Fraud

This scheme, also known as the “419 scam” (named after the relevant section of the Nigerian Criminal Code), involves promising the victim a large sum of money or valuable items in exchange for an upfront payment or personal information. Scammers may impersonate government officials, businesspeople, or even romantic interests to gain your trust.


How to Spot an advance-fee fraud:

– Unsolicited offers of large sums of money or inheritance.

– Requests for upfront payment or “processing fees”.

– Pressure to act quickly and maintain secrecy.

– Use of official-sounding titles or jargon to appear legitimate.



Ponzi/Pyramid Schemes

These fraudulent investment schemes promise high returns by using money from new investors to pay “returns” to earlier investors. However, they eventually collapse when the recruitment of new investors dries up.




How to Identify a Ponzi/Pyramid scheme:

– Promises of unusually high or consistent returns with minor risk.

– Vague or secretive details about the investment strategy.

– Emphasis on recruiting new members for commissions or “returns”.

– Lack of proper registration or documentation.



By staying informed and vigilant, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these and other fraud attempts. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always verify the legitimacy of any request for personal or financial information, and never succumb to pressure tactics.


At Sterling, we prioritize the security of our customers’ information and assets. If you ever suspect fraudulent activity, please contact our One Customer Centre at (+234) 07008220000 or email [email protected].


Remember, knowledge is power in the fight against fraud. Stay alert, and together we can safeguard our financial well-being.


For more safeguard mechanisms, Visit our fraud page.

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