The Nigerian Scam Defined
A Five Billion US$ (as of 1996, much more now) worldwide Scam which has run since the early 1980's 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 Criminal Code of Nigeria, and "The Nigerian Connection" (mostly in Europe). However, it is usually called plain old "419" even by the Nigerians themselves.
The Scam operates as follows: the target receives an unsolicited fax, email, or letter often concerning Nigeria or another African nation 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 "over invoiced" or "double invoiced" oil or other supply and service contracts where your Bad Guys want to get the overage out of Nigeria (Classic 419); crude oil and other commodity deals (a form of Goods and Services 419); a "bequest" left you in a will (Will Scam 419); "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 (Black Currency 419) ;
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, send back "change" on an overage cashier's check or money order, whatever. If the victim pays the Fee, there are often many "Complications" which require still more advance payments until the victim either quits, runs out of money, or both. If the victim extends credit on a given transaction etc. he may also pay such fees ("nerfund" etc.), and also stiffed for the Goods or Service with NO Effective Recourse.
The Nigerian Scam is, according to published reports, the Third to Fifth largest industry in Nigeria. It is the 419 Coalition view that, in effect, the elites from which successive Governments of Nigeria have been drawn ARE the Scammers - therefore, victims have little recourse in this matter. Monies stolen by 419 operations are almost Never Recovered from Nigeria.
Most 419 letters and emails originate from or are traceable back to Nigeria. However, some originate from other nations, mostly also West African nations such as Ghana, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast ( Cote D'Ivoire ) etc. In most cases 419 emails from other nations are also Nigerian in that the "Home Office" of the 419ers involved is Nigeria regardless of the source of the contact materials. But there are occasionally some "local" copycats trying to emulate the success of the Nigerians. These folks tend not to last too long actually operating out of nations other than Nigeria, but they do try.
THE FIVE RULES FOR DOING BUSINESS WITH NIGERIA
Courtesy of The 419 Coalition
1. NEVER pay
anything up front for ANY reason.
4. For Loss cases only, you may file a complaint with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). NOTE: The EFCC informed us 26 APR 2005 that they are doing some maintenance on their email server so their email will not be working for awhile. If you need to report a loss to them in the interim, you will have to call them voice or fax them. Their numbers are available on their webiste at http://www.efccnigeria.org/
5. If the contact from the 419ers was via email: write their email provider at their "abuse" address (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com etc.) and include the 419er message with its headers; complain about the 419 message; and ask that the account be shut down. You may also file complaints with watchdog type sevices like Spamcop to try and get the 419ers email accounts shut off by whatever ISP they are using - Spamcop and other services like it will parse the headers of the 419 email and try to see through forged information etc. to get back to the actual origin of the 419 email, which is often useful in these matters.
Please remember that it is important to include the message's full header information. This is necessary for tracking the message's point of origin. This extra information is not shown by default, and the method of displaying it depends on the email resource you use. If you don't know how to display full headers, please see the instructions in your mail program or website. (Note: Many webpage-based email hosts include a "full headers" option link near the top of the message.)
Some 419ers give different email addies in the body of their mail than the one they sent from. You should complain to "abuse" etc. at those email providers as well.
According to the West African Crime Section (WAOCS) in the UK, Australians are to report 419 matters In Australia to their local police and to the Australian West African Organized Crime Section at firstname.lastname@example.org
Regional Offices of the RCMP Commercial Crime Branch are the proper places to direct inquiries. The phone/fax numbers of the nearest CCB office are available from any local detachment of the RCMP/GRC.
Also, in Canada, The Phonebusters National Call Centre (PNCC) is a joint partnership involving the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Phonebusters is very interested in receiving copies of any 'new' versions of Nigerian letter schemes particularly those involving Canadian mailing addresses or telephone numbers. You can email such 419 letters to them at WAFL@phonebusters.com
You may also access the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Website (RCMP/GRC) which contains a section on the Nigerian Scam.
Subject: Fraud investigation
Referentie: C. Schep
Phone: +31 79 345 8900
Phone: +31 79 345 9300
Fax: +31 79 345 8792
Fax: +31 79 345 9396
The Dutch National Fraud bureau of the Financial Crimes unit of the Dutch National Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation to worldwide fraud practices that are known as "Advance fee-fraud" or "419-fraud".
If you have had contact with suspects from The Netherlands and have fallen victim to this fraud, we urge you not to send any more money. We would appreciate if you would cooperate in our investigation by sending us a written report with the following information in the format shown below:
: your full name;
: date of birth, place of birth and country of birth;
: profession and nationality;
: full contact address and country;
: phone- and fax number and e-mail address
hereby officially report a case of fraud to the Dutch National Authorities.
Please give a
chronological overview of your case, including the following
- How was contact first established with the suspect?
- How were you approached?
- Who approached you (if possible with full name, phone- and fax number and e-mail address)?
- What was the role/function of this person?
- How was the case described to you by the suspect?
- With whom else have you had contact and what were the roles/functions of these persons?
- Make a list of all contacts you have had with the suspect and the other parties involved (as much as possible with date, time, by phone, fax or e-mail?)
- Have you ever met one or more of the suspects in person?
- If so, could you recognise them again?
Please state if you have made any payments, and if so, why.
Make a list of all payments made, stating the amount, the date, the beneficiary and the method of payment (cash, direct deposit, Western Union). Also note the information you have about the bank and the account number and name of the account holder.
Please state that this statement and the information contained within can be used in a federal procedure against the suspect. Also state that you claim back from the suspect all the money that you have payed.
Finally, you need to state that you have filled this report truthfully. Do not forget to sign it.
Send this report and all documents you have received or sent and all confirmations of receipt. Also include a list of all documents sent in your report.
Landelijk Bureau Fraude
2700 KX Zoetermeer
[This material courtesy of the Artists Against 419 (Netherlands) website. Downloadable reporting forms in various languages can be found here at the 419 Eater site.]
Fax all documents pertaining to the scam to the Commercial Branch, South African Police Service, Head Office for attention Superintendent SC Schambriel at facsimile number +27 12 339 1202, telephone number + 27 12 339 1203 or e-mail email@example.com. Please mention whether or not you have incurred any financial loss.
The South African Police Service maintains a 419 Scams/Nigerian Letters Alert on their website. They also have a counter-419 notice in their FAQ Section on the site. They also show a short Anti-419 Pamphlet issued by and available from the South African Police Service, Click Here.
Finally, you can report South African related 419 letters on the website of 419 Legal, a site associated with the Commercial Branch of the Johannesburg Police. 419 Legal files complaints with ISP's that host 419ers who send out soliciations mentioning South Africa.
Basically, the UK has decentralized 419 reporting and does not want to hear from people unless there has been a loss or a UK bank account or phone number is given by the 419ers. The complete instructions can be seen at the London Metropolitan Police website section concerning Nigerian 419 Advance Fee Fraud: http://www.met.police.uk/fraudalert/419.htm
1. The United States Secret Service continues to be tasked as the primary US law enforcement agency in dealing with Advance Fee Fraud (419) matters. US Citizens or Residents with No Financial Loss may email 419er documents to the United States Secret Service at firstname.lastname@example.org where they are archived for future datamining. Only No Loss reports are to be sent to this email address. Due to the sheer volume of materials received, USSS does not respond to submissions to this address.
3. You may also file a Financial Loss complaint online with the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC), which is being renamed the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). This organization is a partnership of the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Additional Data and Analysis on the Nigerian Scam, plus LATEST NEWS and Other Information follows. PLEASE READ EVERY PAGE to get a Comprehensive View of the Nigerian Scam and the Efforts of Public and Private Agencies to Combat It. LINKS to other Scam Fighting Websites are also provided below for your convenience.
US Department of State - Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs - Publication 10465 - "Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud" (Adobe Acrobat Reader Required. This is a large pdf file - a long download but worth it)
Paper: "A Technical Solution for Nigerian Email" by Femi Oyesanya (kwenu.com)