Advance Fee Fraud or the 419 scam
Please note that this scam is spreading,
in particular with references to 'missing money' from Enron, Worldcom,
You are unexpectedly approached by a member
of the Nigerian Military / Church / Government / Company etc
or from some other country to assist in the transfer of a large
amount of money out of the country. The stated reasons will
be that Nigerian Nationals cannot hold a foreign bank account,
it has to be secret, and so on. Ultimately you will be asked
to send ever larger amounts of money to overcome yet another
bureaucratic hurdle, bribe an official, pay for stamps - what
In many cases you will be asked to send Company
headed paper, sample signatures and bank details to assist in
These approaches used to be by letter, then
fax, now they are made by email. This scam has been going on
for about 20 years and amazingly takes in many people, resulting
in the loss overall of many millions of pounds.
If you are approached, just delete the email.
DO NOT REPLY. The police, though keen to stop this, get so many
emails forwarded to them that they cannot deal with them.
of New Zealand advice
This scam might well be carefully targeted:
A boat builder I knew spent some time in Lagos and Port Harcourt
negotiating a deal to supply ferry boats, apparently under an
international aid package. Of course nothing came of it apart
from an extraordinary amount paid out in bribes and entertainment.
This particular scam is likely to increase
over the next few months and years with the increase in computer
literacy in general, availability of internet cafés and more
importantly the likelihood of users outside Nigeria emulating
grapples with e-mail scams (bbc news item)
looks to webwise youth
Alternative advance Fee Frauds
This takes the form of an email or other
contact advising you that to release certain monies that are due
you, you need to pay initial fees or taxes.
The latest variant of this scam is that a
long lsot relative has died and that you stand to inherit a
significant amount of money. However the agents who have contacted
you need an upfront payment in order to release the money /
or establish who you are / or pay taxes / or pay the solicitor
previous variants have been that you have
won a large amount on a lottery that you were automatically
entered into. This lottery being held abroad requires an initial
fee in order to release the money.
Rate return Calls
Please fax me your details, including maps
and images on 090..... for inclusion on a free business directory.
Its just that the directory doesn't exist,
but the 090 number is charged at £1 per minute
The same scam can be seen with mobile phones
whereby a message - you have won a prize - is recorded on your
voice mail, you ring back and are charged.
Alternatively you have the simple text message
- "Please Call 0871.... "
A similar scam is where you have to fax a
particular number to be taken off a list which keeps on faxing
you with utter rubbish.
hit by fax scam
Where you receive an invoice for a service
that you haven't requested. The invoice is supposed to slip
through the accounting system and be paid without being thoroughly
checked. International Business Directory send out order
forms that look exactly like invoices, on the back of the invoice
you are told that payment will be accepted as an order, in this
case for inclusion in a fax directory.
Similar examples include approaches made by
telephone asking for confirmation - with careful wording - that
such as an advert is to be placed or renewed. Say the wrong
thing and this is then treated as an official order!
operation for an in depth view of one persons experience
This particular scam, whereby companies pay
to appear on directories is likely to catch the best of us.
I get regular contacts, both by email and telephone asking me
to pay to place our company details on web directories, the
challenge is to identify which directories have any value and
which are either scams or of little worth.
Selling / Direct Marketing
This is an old idea that has unfortunately
been translated onto the web. You pay money down the line to
somebody who contacted the person who contacted you, you in
turn are paid by people who are contacted by the people you
persuade to join. It is one of the oldest tricks in the book,
now (direct marketing) often associated with the selling of
consumer items, but ultimately dependent on the recruitment
of additional 'dupes'.
of Wight's get-rich fiasco
Associated with this is of course the very
pointless and irritating lucky emails whereby you must forward
an email (used to be a letter in the olden days) to 10 people
who would do the same... why?
This is a relatively new scam (June 2002)
and likely to do the rounds over the next few months, perhaps
over the next year until it has saturated the market.
Basically you get contacted by phone and advised
by a very helpful ISP that they have just had a request to purchase
a series of domain names that matches your companies corporate
presence. Would you like the opportunity to purchase these names
before the impostor buys them. you have to make up your mind
very quickly as the domains are about to go - the pressure is
The names will largely match the domain names
already owned but include all the .net, info, .biz .me and in
the case of the company that contacted me, ".uk.com".
In our case, the domain names about to be
bought included: midkentwater.net, midkentwater.biz. All are
still available, of marginal value to us and can be purchased
for about £10.
The cost was in the £100s of pounds. In this
case I politely told them that it sounded like a scam and to
not bother me, end of call. Clearly the impostor or other buyer
doesn't exist as the the domain names that were 'about' to be
purchased are still available.
Domain Registrar Services is one of the companies
doing this scam, they do have a website, http://www.domainregistrarservices.co.uk/
the prices shown are high but not as high as the prices quoted
- and charged for - on the phone!
Follows is regular scam that is now seen on the
web - don't respond, its a con!
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO EARN £100, $150 to £200,
$300 PER WEEK FROM YOUR OWN HOME BASED NEWSPAPER CLIPPING BUSINESS.
Never before have details of this fantastic
opportunity been made available. Now you could earn extra money
every week by cutting out NEWSPAPER ARTICLES.
You will be able to earn as much as £200/$400
per week and more from this fascinating and profitable business
Immediately. Make money in your spare time, right from your
own home, and what is more, you can earn money
on a regular basis....get paid £2/$3.....£5/$8....£10/$15....and
even up to £20/$30....per clipping. Clip only 3 or 4 items a
day and this can add up to a hefty weekly income.
If you are interested or just want some further
information then all you have to do is email me back, press
reply and put "MORE INFO" in the subject box, and I shall send
you further details.
There are more than 150,000 Publications Worldwide,
these include Trade and Professional Journals, as well as special
interest magazines geared to industry and other groups, these
Magazines and publications publish on a regular basis, Weekly,
Monthly etc, they need to fill their pages with material of
interest, but many of them can't afford to hire someone to dig
for information or clippings. They are happy to pay for a service
them with the newspaper items that they can use. So these publications
need items from you all the time. They will be paying you on
a regular basis, thereby giving you a regular income !!!!
into Purchasing otherwise free Services
The one that I see most is the regular warning
that one of the companies I deal with is in breach of the data
protection act, or is about to be, due to the registration expiring.
Please send £95 or a similar amount for registration information.
Otherwise you risk a fine of £5,000 etc etc.. Apparently, should
you pay up you get a copy of the standard application form and
the free booklet that comes from the Data Protection Commissioner.
No doubt there are many similar scams whereby
you pay for free advice and services. Asbestos will represent
a big opportunity for fraudulent companies offering surveys
and the like.
Lottery prize draws
The fraudsters telephone British residents
telling them they have been entered into the Canadian National
Lottery for free.
A few weeks later they call back to tell the
person they have won a huge prize, often in the region of £175,000.
They then demand several thousand pounds to
pay for the tax on the winnings.
In some cases victims have lost more than £40,000.
Lottery scam tricks Britons
Millions of letters arrive through UK letterboxes
from abroad each year claiming that the householder has already
won a guaranteed prize of either a huge cash sum or a gift like
a holiday or a new car.
The scam takes various forms, but in most cases
the reader is told they need to send a small administrative
fee of between £10 and £35 to release their winnings.
Because the sums involved are so small, millions
have decided to post the money in the hope of claiming a huge
Their winnings either never arrive or have so
many financial strings attached they're essentially worthless.
prize draws trick millions
Hall of shame
The top 10 internet frauds
reported to the NCL (National Consumers League) last year
- Bogus online auctions, where the items
purchased are never delivered.
- Deliberate misrepresentation or non-delivery
of general merchandise purchased online.
- Nigerian money offers.
- Deliberate misrepresentation or non-delivery
of computer equipment or software purchased online.
- Internet access scams, where bogus internet
service providers fraudulently charge for services that
were never ordered or received.
- Credit card or telephone charges for
services that were never ordered or misrepresented as free.
These often include charges for accessing 'adult' material.
- Work-at-home schemes promising wildly
exaggerated sales and profits.
- Advance fee loans, where consumers are
duped into paying upfront charges for loans which never
- Phoney offers of cheap-rate credit card
deals, once again on payment of upfront fees.
- Business opportunities or franchises
sold on the basis of exaggerated profit estimates.