About Author: Kishore Jagirdar
Currently: Managing Director at Infopace management Pvt Ltd
Interests: HR . Strategic consulting ,Training , BPO , KPO
Experience:Bangalore , Managing Director [Strategic Consulting which involves , Culling ideas, Intellectual programming,Enterprise development,team building, mentoring ,strategic growth , Investment procurement in short Incubating business. ] - Working/Currently
The perpetrators of Advance Fee Fraud (AFF), known internationally as "419" fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes, are often very creative and innovative.
Advance Fee Fraud Examples
• In almost every case there is a sense of urgency;
•The victim is enticed to travel to Nigeria or a border country;
•There are many forged official looking documents;
•Most of the correspondence is handled by fax or through the mail;
•Blank letterheads and invoices are requested from the victim along with the banking particulars;
•Any number of Nigerian fees are requested for processing the transaction with each fee purported to be the last required;
•The confidential nature of the transaction is emphasized;
•There are usually claims of strong ties to Nigerian officials;
•A Nigerian residing in the U.S., London or other foreign venue may claim to be a clearing house bank for the Central Bank of Nigeria; we have this now coming in from almost all parts of the world and often increasingly are not only Nigerians but also other nationals including Europeans
•Offices in legitimate government buildings appear to have been used by impostors posing as the real occupants or officials. The most common forms of these fraudulent business proposals fall into seven main categories:
•Disbursement of money from wills
•Contract fraud (C.O.D. of goods or services)
•Purchase of real estate
•Conversion of hard currency
•Transfer of funds from over invoiced contracts
•Sale of crude oil at below market prices
Now we are finding some other new innovative method they have employed
a) Phishing : Email containing the features of reputed bank asking internet access to be revalidated for security reasons and the unsuspecting customer logs in and reveals all the details which in turn will be used to clean the bank accounts of its money
b) Job offers : lot of people are being targeted on the online job portal like naukari.com, monster.com by fictious employers or employment agencies that will give attractive overseas job offers one cannot refuse and then lure them into payments for visa processing or the other. The candidate is made to constantly part with money for one reason or the other with such professional ease that it will take a long time for the person to realize the fraud they are into .
c) Lottery winners: Intimation out of the blue informing of a lottery you may have won without you participating in it with the lottery ticket attached to victim’s email ID which was randomly selected over 90,000 names of databases and address via computer ballot from several countries. They will ask for processing fee to be paid after collecting due details and go on milking all the victim’s information which they will use to create fake transaction using the personal details and milk as much as possible collection of payments from the victim
d) Commission agents: Off late there are offers being given to people over the email for acting as an agent for collection of payments for a validated business in exports and imports .Initially the victim will get receipts of small payment collections that will give the victim the feeling that this is a great business and soon they will win the confidence. Once they have deep rooted levels of confidence created then they will ask for a bank guarantee or a large payment remittance which will be in process and not yet credited to the victims account .On good will the victims ends up sending the huge payments which will never get refunded or credited.
e) Online Auctions/sales: the victim is convinced that he has made a fantastic bargain on the sales and makes the 50% or 100% advance payment to ensure that the deal is sealed But will never get his product delivered.
f) Spyware: This is a type of software that gets typically down loaded like the “Trojan horse “Into the unsuspecting victims system via pop ups and then keeps sending the data from the system to the senders PC at times this technic has been used by people to defraud banks with the online access information over the ATMs and online activity.
g) Inheritance/Donations: Out of the blue the victims get a message from a so called legal firm on the inheritance of a large estate being left behind by a deceased or a terminally ill benefactor .they will make the victim swear that the money should be utilised wisely for benefit of the underprivileged and will emphasize on the irrelevance of its value to the benefactor in the face of death .It would immediately need the victim to start spending on the retrieval of the said estate that never existed.
How does it work?The most prevalent and successful cases of Advance Fee Fraud is the fund transfer scam. In this scheme, a company or individual will typically receive an unsolicited letter by mail from a Nigerian claiming to be a senior civil servant. In the letter, the Nigerian will inform the recipient that he is seeking a reputable foreign company or individual into whose account he can deposit funds ranging from $10-$60 million that the Nigerian government overpaid on some procurement contract. The criminals obtain the names of potential victims from a variety of sources including trade journals, professional directories, newspapers, and commercial libraries. They do not target a single company, but rather send out mailings en masse. The sender declares that he is a senior civil servant in one of the Nigerian Ministries, usually the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The letters refer to investigations of previous contracts awarded by prior regimes alleging that many contracts were over invoiced. Rather than return the money to the government, they desire to transfer the money to a foreign account. The sums to be transferred average between $10,000,000 to $60,000,000 and the recipient is usually offered a commission up to 30 percent for assisting in the transfer. Initially, the intended victim is instructed to provide company letterheads and pro forma invoicing that will be used to show completion of the contract.
One of the reasons is to use the victim's letterhead to forge letters of recommendation to other victim companies and to seek out a travel visa from the American Embassy in Lagos. The victim is told that the completed contracts will be submitted for approval to the Central Bank of Nigeria. Upon approval, the funds will be remitted to an account supplied by the intended victim.
The goal of the criminal is to delude the target into thinking that he is being drawn into a very lucrative, albeit questionable, arrangement. The intended victim must be reassured and confident of the potential success of the deal. He will become the primary supporter of the scheme and willingly contribute a large amount of money when the deal is threatened.
The term "when" is used because the con-within-the-con is the scheme will be threatened in order to persuade the victim to provide a large sum of money to save the venture. The letter, while appearing transparent and even ridiculous to most, unfortunately is growing in its effectiveness. It sets the stage and is the opening round of a two-layered scheme or scheme within a scheme.
The fraudster will eventually reach someone who, while skeptical, desperately wants the deal to be genuine. Victims are almost always requested to travel to Nigeria or a border country to complete a transaction. Individuals are often told that a visa will not be necessary to enter the country. The Nigerian con artists may then bribe airport officials to pass the victims through Immigration and Customs. Because it is a serious offense in Nigeria to enter without a valid visa, the victim's illegal entry may be used by the fraudsters as leverage to coerce the victims into releasing funds.
Violence and threats of physical harm may be employed to further pressure victims.
Dangerous Business: In June of 1995, an American was murdered in Lagos, Nigeria, while pursuing a 4-1-9 scam, and numerous other foreign nationals have been reported as missing. Victims are often convinced of the authenticity of Advance Fee Fraud schemes by the forged or false documents bearing apparently official Nigerian government letterhead, seals, as well as false letters of credit, payment schedules and bank drafts. The fraudster may establish the credibility of his contacts, and thereby his influence, by arranging a meeting between the victim and "government officials" in real or fake government offices.
In the next stage some alleged problem concerning the "inside man" will suddenly arise. An official will demand an up-front bribe or an unforeseen tax or fee to the Nigerian government will have to be paid before the money can be transferred. These can include licensing fees, registration fees, and various forms of taxes and attorney fees.
Normally each fee paid is described as the very last fee required. Invariably, oversights and errors in the deal are discovered by the Nigerians, necessitating additional payments and allowing the scheme to be stretched out over many months. Several reasons have been submitted why Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud has undergone a dramatic increase in recent years. The explanations are as diverse as the types of schemes. The Nigerian Government blames the growing problem on mass unemployment, extended family systems, a get rich quick syndrome, and, especially, the greed of foreigners.
Indications are that Advance Fee Fraud grosses hundreds of millions of dollars annually and the losses are continuing to escalate. In all likelihood, there are victims who do not report their losses to authorities due to either fear or embarrassment. Some of the sites below give adequate information on the various frauds and a telltale for horror stories how people have become victim of their own greed and ended up losing everything they had to these tricksters
For more details
If you feel you have been a victim of any of these schemes contact your local Law enforcement (High Tech Crimes Unit) office for assistance at http: //www.cbi.gov.in/cybercrime/cybercrime.php
You are also welcome to contact the author of this article for advise as he has done extensive research on this subject. You can reach him at mailto:kishorjagirdar(at the rate)yahoo.co.in
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