AusCERT 2013: Nigerian scam victim tells her story

Nigerian scam victim Jill explains how she was conned out of $300,000 over a four year period.

AusCERT 2013: Nigerian scam victim tells her story

Jill said her scam started in September 2005 when she was contacted by someone pretending to be the Commissioner of Health in Nigeria, who was apparently looking for Australian companies to renovate some hospitals in Lagos. The potential profit in the deal was a cool $1 million.

As she was already running a successful interior decorating business, she saw this as a great opportunity.

"I have been in business all my life and feel I'm fairly savvy. One of the things they tell you at a very early stage is that you won't have to part with any money, and like a fool, you believe them," said Jill.

After communicating with the scammers over a long period of time, Jill began to trust her contact.

"I really believed they were my friends — how wrong was I," she said.

The scammers cost Jill her business and then led to her marriage break up.

"In 2011, my husband and I split because I went public with my experience. He said he didn't want me to expose him and myself to the public, but I felt I had to do it," Jill said.

Brian Hay, who heads up the Queensland Police's Fraud and Corporate Crime Group, said most victims were "smart business people" who were over 45 and held professional qualifications.

"We are not talking about stupid people. It's not because they are greedy. They saw an opportunity and got excited. If you click on that hyperlink (in a phishing email), it's because you are thinking emotionally, not rationally," he added.