They say Malayalis are vulnerable to scams. Manchiyam, teak or even the most recent solar panel scam are examples of investors’ greed for making easy money. Even the highly educated Keralite fails to see the treachery behind projects that offer to fill up or rather flow over their coffers.

It was only a few years ago that the Nigerian scam emerged in the State. Many people were seen crying over lakhs of rupees lost to claim the ‘lotteries’ worth millions of dollars they had won. However, Malayalis have grown smart in a short time when it comes to online cheating, or so the cyber cell of Kozhikode police feels.

The Nigerian scam, that earned the name due to its roots in Nigeria, was designed to exploit the greedy. One fine day you get a mail from some foreign agency – that could probably be a well-known multinational company or organisation, even the Reserve Bank of India- stating that your email id or mobile number had won their lottery that would get you a huge amount in millions of dollars or pounds. They would request your personal details and ask you to remit a nominal amount, say Rs. 50,000 as processing fee to transfer the amount to your account. After you pay, you lose touch with the agency.

Over a period, the modus operandi changed. They nowadays target youths in search of jobs. The job aspirants get a mail inviting them for an interview at a reputed company. The youths do not hesitate to pay the caution deposit required to be paid before joining since they are being offered a very high salary.

People do not even care to verify when they feel that lady luck had blessed them. They would not utter a word to any one lest some one snatch their fortune away and end up paying large amounts that may appear meagre compared to the fortune they would receive. When the issue came to the notice of the authorities, attempts were made to create awareness regarding such online frauds. With constant vigil the cyber cells were able to trap a few miscreants with the fraud and the issue were laid to rest.

However, even now, a large number of such mails land in the inboxes of most people. The Cyber Cell of Kozhikode City Police receives information of such mails on a daily basis. “While the mails were manipulated by some one based in Nigeria or some other foreign country earlier, people in India themselves are behind the mails now. Also the miscreants have become more and more creative about the reason why they wish to hand over millions of dollars to an unsuspecting Indian. But Malayalis have thankfully got smarter”, says Sathish.A, Inspector at the Cyber Cell.

“People do not fall into this particular trap so easily now. There is more awareness and caution among those who use internet after the Nigerian scam came into light. Now they are just curious when they receive such a mail and rush to us to report. Of late no one is reported to have fallen prey to it”, Mr.Sathish told The Hindu.

Though the mails appear to be very professionally crafted at first glance, it is quite easy to identify them for the frauds they are, Mr.Sathish said. “The language they use does not really fit the corporate world. In addition, there would be enough number of spelling and grammatical errors. If your greed does not cloud your common sense, a person can protect himself from such frauds if he exercises some caution,” he added.

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