Historically, 419 is said to be a modern derivative of traditional centuries old West African scams and pranks such as the "Red Mercury" scam (a "magical substance" advance fee fraud scam very similar to Black Currency 419, which is described below. Although 419 has often been erroneously described as an evolution of an old European advance fee fraud called the "Spanish Prisoner" scam, after a journalist doing an early article on noted the similarities between it and certain forms of 419, in actuality 419 is more of a "home grown" enterprise as it were.
419 Scams operate 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 "overinvoiced" 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, also called Wash-Wash) ; "spoof banks" where there is supposedly money in your name already on deposit; "paying" for a purchase with a check larger than the amount required and asking for change to be advanced (cashier's check and money order 419); fake lottery 419; chat room and romance 419 (usually coupled with one of the other forms of 419); employment 419 (including secret shopper 419) ; and ordering items and commodities off "trading" and "auction" sites on the web and then cheating the seller. The variations of Advance Fee Fraud (419) are very creative and virtually endless, so do not consider the above as an all-inclusive list!
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.
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 (even European nations like the UK, the Netherlands, Spain etc. ) are also Nigerian in that the "Home Office" of the 419ers involved is Nigeria regardless of the apparent source of the contact materials. But there are occasionally some "local" copycats trying to emulate the success of the Nigerians, generally not very successfully.
The Nigerian Scam is, according to published reports, the Third to Fifth largest industry in Nigeria. It is the 419 Coalition view that the elites from which the governing classes of Nigeria are drawn contain 419 Scammers which can make it difficult for victims seeking recourse in these matters. Monies stolen by 419 operations are very rarely recovered from Nigeria, although the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) when led by Nuhu Ribadu and Ibrahim Lamorde made some welcome progress in that regard for several years prior to 2008.
Ribadu and Lamorde were, however, replaced by Mrs. Farida Waziri as head of the EFCC in early 2008. Under her leadership, it is our view and the consensus of most counter-419ers as we understand it, that the EFCC was not as active in counter-419 matters as it was under Ribadu and Lamorde. 419 Coalition believes that EFCC performance in the area of recovery and repatriation of 419ed monies was particularly bad under Waziri. For example, in the Odiawa case, in which the EFCC was able to convict the 419er several years ago, and the court ordered restitution of over a million dollars to the victim, the victim has yet to see a dime to date - very disappointing. Mrs. Waziri was herself replaced in November 2011.
Ibrahim Lamorde returned to the EFCC as Director of Operations in December 2010, and replaced Waziri as Director of the EFCC in November 2011. 419 Coalition hopes that under his leadership EFCC performance in arresting 419ers, convicting 419ers, and the recovery and repatriation of 419ed funds will improve.
PLEASE DON'T SEND 419 COALITION A COPY OF THE 419 SOLICITATION YOU RECEIVED, we've seen tens of thousands already.
DO NOT RESPOND TO THE 419ER and DO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS THAT APPLY TO YOU AS GIVEN IN THE "WHAT TO DO" SECTIONS BELOW (scroll way down)..
Please Read the ENTIRE site BEFORE contacting 419 Coalition for information, questions etc., as ALL AVAILABLE INFORMATION AND DATA IS ALREADY SUMMARIZED AND POSTED UP ON THIS SITE.
Scroll down to our News section below for articles on 419 from 1996 to the present, and to our Links ("Fighters") section for links to many other sites that deal with 419.
Ultrascan Advanced Global Investigations, a Netherlands - based firm which has been studying 419 matters since the mid -1990's, has prepared a report titled 419 Advance Fee Fraud Statistics each of the last few years. These stats are based on Ultrascan's in-house investigations and include, by nation: number of 419 rings; number of 419ers; income of the 419ers (the amount of losses by victims to the 419ers); and additional data. 419 Coalition view is that these stats present a reasonably conservative and realistic look at the extent and magnitude of 419 criminal operations worldwide. Ultrascan accompanied their compilation of 419 Statistics for 2005 with a Press Release that still serves as an excellent short summary of the modes of 419er operations. It stresses the need for Centralized counter-419 operations by country and for simplified reporting of 419 by country in order to control it.
1. DO NOT RESPOND TO THE 419 SOLICITATION.
2. Notify your Own Nation's National Law Enforcement Agency and your Own Nation's Foreign Office.
3. File a Complaint with the Nigerian Embassy or High Commission in your nation. It used to be possible to email complaints and 419 materials in to the Central Bank of Nigeria and to the Nigeria Police, but those email addresses have not worked for some time.
4. For Loss cases only, you may file a complaint with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Their website is at http://www.efccnigeria.org/ You may also file complaints with the Central Bank of Nigeria Anticorruption Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org and should do so especially if CBN is mentioned in the 419 materials.
5. If the contact from the 419ers was via email: write their email provider at their "abuse" address (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
You can also report 419 scams via Scamwatch, a service provided by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission of the Australian government.
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 email@example.com
You may also access the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Website (RCMP/GRC) which contains a section on the Nigerian Scam.
If you have suffered a Loss to 419 scammers operating from The Netherlands, report the matter to the Dutch authorities at WACN@klpd.politie.nl. Please put APOLLO - LOSS in the subject line of your email.
You are also asked to file No Loss reports on 419 solicitations related to The Netherlands, particularly those containing a Dutch phone number, banking data, post address or other tangible data, to WACN@klpd.politie.nl. Please show the headers of forwarded 419 solicitations and put APOLLO - NO LOSS in the subject line and/or at the top of the body of the forwarded 419 solicitation.
For post/fedex, fax, and voice reporting, the information is:
Reference: Project Apollo (LOSS or NO LOSS)
Korps Landelijke Politiediensten
2700 KX Zoetermeer
Telephone no. : 0031- 79- 3458900
Fax.no. : 0031- 79- 3459100
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 used to show a short Anti-419 Pamphlet which was issued by and available from the South African Police Service, Click Here.
2. United States Citizens and Residents who HAVE suffered a Financial Loss are instructed to contact the nearest Field Office of the United States Secret Service (USSS) by telephone.
3. You may file a Financial Loss complaint online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) [formerly the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) ]. This organization is a partnership of the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
4. American citizens concerned that they may be the victims of an international scam may also call the U.S. Department of State at (888) 407-4747 or the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
5. Anyone who has not suffered a loss, but who wishes report receipt of 419 "spam", may forward the 419 solicitation they have received, with headers, to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org for their database.
419 Coalition is always glad to try and answer via email any questions from individuals or journalists on 419 matters which are NOT already covered on the site.
419 Coalition no longer takes voice calls nor does voice interviews. We used to, but we were too overwhelmed to continue doing so. However, author Brian Wizard ( Nigerian 419 Scam: Game Over! ) does enjoy doing occasional voice interviews. US Secret Service 419 Task Force, when it existed, used to have spokesmen available for interviews, you could try them in Washington DC at 202-406-5850.
419 Coalition no longer "furnishes" 419 victims to the media for interviews, sorry. However, several victims have stated in our News sections that they are available for interview and have given their contact data, so check there.
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