Glossary of International Business : 419
An Advance Fee Fraud (AFF) originating in Nigeria, but also form other African countries, most notably Western African nations including Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo
419 refers to the section of the Nigerian criminal code having to do with financial fraud schemes
419 scams can be very creative and have endless variations.
Typical scams include offers to split revenues from
1) Illegal (over invoiced or double invoiced) oil or arms deals
2) Dormant bank accounts
3) Bank accounts in the name of deceased individuals without heirs
4) Lottery winnings
Prior to the late 1990s, offers from scammers used to arrive by mail and were written on elaborately printed and foil stamped bogus letterheads. Now, scammers are cluttering the e-mail inboxes of millions of people worldwide on a daily basis.Commercial variations include such scams as ordering commercial merchandise and overpaying with a counterfeit certified check and then asking for the difference to be refunded by bank wire before the seller realizes that the original check is no good. A person-to person variation includes such scams as befriending people on the internet and asking them to send cash (via bank wirer) in exchange for bogus money orders or travelers checks.
In advance fee fraud cases the scammer asks for personal and company information in order to facilitate payment to your account.
Scammers start by asking for telephone and fax numbers and then ask for bank account numbers. The scammer also asks the victim for money in order to insure the transaction. Reasons offered for such payments include
1) A good faith payment to show that you are serious about following through with the plan
2) Money required to bribe an official to make the transaction happen
3) Money required to pay for the chemical treatment of current before it can be used and endless variations.
In some cases the victim advances small or large sums of money that are never recovered. In other cases the scammer has found a way to deduct funds from personal or business bank accounts.
As a result of significant pressure from nations most affected by these scams, the Nigerian government appears to be making an effort to curb the practice. Some argue that the Nigerian government isn’t doing enough. Others go so far as to argue that the Nigerian government has a history of implicit approval as such scams are said to be the third to fifth largest source of foreign income for the country.
New Yorker magazine article on Nigerian 419 scams refers to The Perfect Mark.
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