The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday urged nationals to be on the alert against telephone scams involving perpetrators from Nigeria.
Chen Shih-liang (陳士良), director of the MOFA's Department of African Affairs, stated at the ministry's regular briefing that the MOFA recently received a phone call from a local college professor surnamed Lin who asked for the ministry's assistance.
Lin said he received a call from his friend surnamed Yao in the African country. Yao told him that she had a car accident in the city of Lagos in southwestern Nigeria on April 22.
Her five-year-old daughter was killed during the crash and Yao asked Lin to send money to her account in Africa to help her deal with the emergency, Chen said.
Lin therefore asked the ministry to confirm the news for him before he made the transfer.
Officials in Taiwan's representative office in Nigeria later tried to contact Yao via the telephone number she gave Lin.
However, the person who answered the phone was apparently an African that couldn't speak Mandarin and immediately ended the call, said Chen.
Chen said his ministry believes it is another case of fraud which is rampant in Nigeria.
He asked Taiwanese people to stay alert to this kind of overseas fraud.
According to the ministry, the scam artists there usually break into the victim's e-mail accounts and send messages to the victim's family stating that their passport and money have been robbed and they need immediate assistance.