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419/Advance Fee

How the scam works . . .

The scam starts when you are contacted, either by fax, mail or email, by someone saying that they are a senior government official. They claim that they are in possession of a large amount of over-budgeted money, usually American dollars. The proposal entails the transfer of the over-budgeted money into your bank account. The person receiving the letter or fax is generally promised a sizable percentage, between 20 and 35 percent, of the money transferred, as a commission, for the use of the bank account.

If the intended victim is interested in the deal, they are requested to forward a variety of paperwork which generally includes blank company letterheads which are duly signed, blank invoices, telephone and fax numbers, and especially bank account details. These being required to effect the transfer of the money into the bank account.

The money is obtained from the victim in a number of ways, such as:
Asking the victim to deposit money into a specified bank account to help cover expenses for completing the deal, which may include paying bribes to other parties in Nigeria.
Once the original fee has been paid, "complications" may arise which necessitate the payment of more fees.
Organizing a meeting in Nigeria and once the victim is in Nigeria, his passport is confiscated and he is detained until sufficient payment is received.
Using the bank details and official letterheads to transfer money out of the victim's bank account and into an account under the control of the criminals.
Once the money is lost, an "official" may contact the victim on the pretext of helping the victim retrieve the lost money which, in turn, also costs money
 



How to Protect Yourself
Look for these warning signs to know if the letter is a scam:

  • The letter will stress the urgency of the matter.
  • The confidential nature of the transaction is stressed.
  • Claims are made that the other parties are employed in, or have strong ties with the Nigerian Government or the Central Bank of Nigeria.
  • There may be a need to travel to Nigeria or one of its neighboring countries.
  • Many forged official-looking documents.
  •  Blank letterheads, invoices and banking details are requested.
  • Additional fees are continuously requested in order to further the transaction.
  • You will be asked to send money in order to "help" them to release the funds in question.
     

Resources for Victims and other sites on 419 scams:
If you are a victim of these scams, please contact:

The 419 Coalition Website

419.bittenus.com


In the News

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