Advance Fee Fraud

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Address directorium Society Issues Fraud

The scheme usually works as follows:

* An individual or company receives a letter or fax from an alleged "official" representing a foreign government or agency;

* An offer is made to transfer millions of dollars in "over invoiced contract" funds into your personal bank account;

* You are encouraged to travel overseas to complete the transaction;

* You are requested to provide blank company letterhead forms, banking account information, telephone/fax numbers; You receive numerous documents with official looking stamps, seals and logo testifying to the authenticity of the proposal;

* Eventually you must provide up-front or advance fees for various taxes, attorney fees, transaction fees or bribes.

The leading host nation for this form of fraud at present is Nigeria.

  • 419 Advance Fee Fraud Nigerian Scam An archive of e-mailed solicitations received, how much the web site owner would have supposedly made by now, which scenarios are used (e.g., dead foreigner, or chemically treated money), explanation of how the scam operates, and links.
  • Advance Fee Fraud and Banks Transcript of a talk on this type of fraud from a banker's perspective.
  • Africanscam.co.uk Information and links on 419 scams; correspondence and photographs from some scambaiting projects.
  • Artists Against 419 Provides information on fake bank sites and how to distinguish them from legitimate ones, along with announcements of monthly flash mob events aiming to shut down fake bank sites through bandwidth siphoning.
  • Brian Wizard Offers free pdf-format books about fighting Nigerian 419 letter scams and email fraud.
  • International Investigation Services, Nigeria Division Describing the Nigerian advance fee scam, with a searchable database of known names used by persons participating in the fraud, along with an archive of the letters and fake documents they use, and a bulletin board.
  • ISCS Corporation and Receiver Corporation Info about an alleged employment and job training scam running in Chicago.
  • Nigeria E-Mail Scam aka 419 Scam aka Advance Fee Fraud Description of the scam's mechanics, history, senders' aliases, ways to easily identify the scam email, and related links.
  • Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud Detailed information on the scheme, centered largely in Nigeria, wherein people are offered a share of millions of dollars to help transfer the money to their bank account. From the U.S. State Department. [1.04M]
  • Nigerian Advanced Fee Fraud The Minnesota Attorney General's office describes how the scheme works, and tells businesses, nonprofits, and individuals what they can do if they receive an offer through the mail to transfer money out of a foreign country.
  • Nigerian Fraud Email Gallery An archive of several hundred scam letters, with date received, names of supposed senders, country where the money is supposed to have originated, and amount.
  • Nigerian Scam Outlines the basics of this con, mentions variations, gives an example of a typical letter, explains how victims are taken in by this long-running scam. Links to further information.
  • The "419" or "Nigerian" Scam People in academia can be targets of advance fee fraud schemes too. Sample letter, bullet list of common features of a "419" scam, and FAQ. From University of Pennsylvania Computing/Information Security.
  • The "Nigerian" Scam: Costly Compassion Federal Trade Commission alert on those polite letters from strangers in trouble, which promise a large financial reward for discreetly helping them.
  • The 419 Coalition Devoted to fighting the advance money scam, in which victims are offered millions for allowing an even greater sum to be deposited in their bank account, but end up having their accounts drained or being fooled into advancing fictitious taxes, fees or bribes.
  • West African Advanced Fee Fraud What the West African "419" fraud is, how it works, where victims meet up with the criminals operating this scheme, what residents of the UK should do if they receive a 419 letter. From the Metropolitan Police.

Media publications

  • Anatomy of a 419 scam Detailed examination of how an American man fell for a fraudulent scheme operating out of the UK. [The Register] (Published 2004-07-09 00:00:00)
  • Crackdown on £8.4m African sting The idea of the African elite offering untold riches to strangers via e-mail or fax may seem absurd, but the National Criminal Intelligence Service says that victims are losing millions of pounds. [Scotland on Sunday] (Published 2003-03-02 00:00:00)
  • I crave your distinguished indulgence (and all your cash) The author describes the mass of offers he has received from African nations, offering him a share of millions, with a description of how the scam works. [Salon] (Published 2001-08-07 00:00:00)
  • The Nigerian Nightmare Examines the 419 scam as well as its history, going back several decades. [Slate] (Published 2002-10-22 00:00:00)

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