A Five Billion US$ (to date) worldwide Scam which has run for the last Ten Years under Successive Governments of Nigeria. It is also referred to as “Advance Fee Fraud”, “419 Fraud” (Four-One-Nine) after the relevant section of the U.S. Criminal Code of Nigeria, and “The Fax Scam.”
The Scam operates as follows: the target receives an unsolicited fax or letter from Nigeria containing either a money laundering or other illegal proposal OR you may receive a Legal and Legitimate business proposal by normal means. Common variations on the Scam include “overinvoiced” or “double invoiced” oil or other supply and service contracts where your Bad Guys want to get the overage out of Nigeria; crude oil and other commodity deals; a “bequest” left you in a will; and “money cleaning” where your Bad Guy has a lot of currency that needs to be “chemically cleaned” before it can be used and he needs the cost of the chemicals. Or the victim will just be stiffed on a legitimate goods or services contract…the variations are very creative and virtually endless.
At some point, the victim is asked to pay up front an Advance Fee of some sort, be it an “Advance Fee”, “Transfer Tax”, “Performance Bond”, or to extend credit, grant COD privileges, whatever. If the victim pays the Fee, there are many “Complications” which require still more advance payments until the victim either quits, runs out of money, or both. If the victim extends credit etc. he may also pay such fees (“nerfund” etc.), and then he is stiffed with NO Effective Recourse.
The Nigerian Scam is, according to published reports, the Third largest industry in Nigeria. Our research demonstrates rather conclusively that, in effect, successive Governments of Nigeria ARE the Scammers – therefore, victims have little recourse in this matter, and monies stolen by 419 operations are almost Never Recovered from Nigeria.
Another Nigerian Scam Report
A client of mine from Korea just received a proposal from Col. Yusef Saraki in Nigeria claiming that the Nigerian government was just overturned. The Col. is presently under house arrest and his assets have been frozen by the new regime. He needs to transfer a total sum of US$60M to an offshore non-resident bank account. In order for him to do so he needs my client to sign a document as “next to kin” and pay $200.00 a day until the funds are wire transferred to my client’s account. Of course, Col. Saraki needs a “small” amount of advancement fee (approximately 30 days worth) until the wire transfer is completed. He further claims that upon completion of the wire transfer to my client, he will somehow find a way to escape Nigeria and move to Korea with his family. He insists that this is a life/death matter therefore, the entire transaction must be completed within two weeks. He has provided my client with a fax copy of the Bilateral Agreement between Col. Saraki and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation in Johannesburg, South Africa and some other “fake” affidavit.
I would appreciate your posting the above scam in your website and alert everyone. Be aware of this Col. Yusef Saraki individual and Securities Investor Protection Corporation entity.
R. W. Bae – Attorney at Law – Dec 12/98.
New Twist on Nigerian Scam
Nigerian Crime Syndicates have added a new dimension to the fraudulent letter scheme known as ‘fraud 419’ which has netted an estimated amount in excess of one billion US dollars from gullible victims since the worldwide scheme was first reported in 1989.
Reports received by INTERPOL indicate that the criminals are becoming so brazen and confident that they are contacting earlier victims of the fraud and are posing as Nigerian government officials investigating the fraud in a so-called attempt to get the victims’ money back upon payment of an upfront fee.
“INTERPOL wants to try and minimise the potential danger of this new dimension to the fraud scheme by warning victims to be on their guard against any such approach,” said Mr Serge Sabourin, Head of INTERPOL’s Communication and Public Relations Sub-Directorate.
“Up to now not a lot of success has been achieved in bringing these criminals to trial and we feel that proactive warnings and increased awareness concerning this fraud scheme can possibly limit the extent of the fraud,” Mr Sabourin went on to say.
The manner in which the crime is perpetrated makes prosecution very difficult. The victims are usually businessmen and other individuals from all over the world who either receive letters or a facsimile and are led to believe that a substantial commission, payable in US dollars, can be earned for allowing the use of their bank account into which money will be transferred from Nigeria. The commissions vary from two to 25 million US dollars.
The letters explain that the money is from delayed approved contract payments by the past civilian administration in Nigeria to certain companies which have abandoned repayment claims. It alleges that the present military government is now paying these previously frozen monies but that the civil servants involved are apparently attempting to keep the funds for themselves.
The signatories of the letters claim to be acting as middlemen and request that the victim supplies signed and stamped blank company letterheads and blank invoices together with bank details such as account numbers,addresses, telephone and facsimile numbers.
Upon receipt of replies together with the requested documents, the victims are requested to transfer the money to pay for transfer taxes, contract and attorney fees allegedly demanded by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Part of the advances are supposedly used for bribing officials.
The scheme varies from oil transactions to claims on deceased estates, the exportation of US dollar bills in mint form, disposal of toxic waste and others.
Obviously, no money is ever received, resulting in a total loss to the company or individual.
It appears that the countries bordering Nigeria are now being used for posting the scheme letters and even to meet potential victims.
The Nigerian Federal Police have set up a special unit to investigate the scheme but due to the reluctance of victims to travel to Nigeria, prosecutions are difficult to institute.
The General Secretariat of INTERPOL maintain a file on reported cases but, due to the difficulties encountered in investigating such cases, active measures are being taken to create global awareness in an attempt to prevent people from falling victim to the scheme. The scheme has continued unabated and cases emanating from Japan are now being reported.
Mr Sabourin states that the prospect of receiving commissions of millions of US dollars lures individuals to participate in this scheme and it is clear that the gullibility and greed of prospective victims clouds their judgement.
“The first logical preventive measure to take is never to divulge your bank account details or any other personal details to anyone,” said Mr Sabourin.
Any approach should be reported to the local police with all documents received being handed in. The local police can refer the matter to their INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB), who will in turn notify the Nigerian Federal Police