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.
Transcript of a talk on this type of fraud from a banker's perspective.
Detailed examination of how an American man fell for a fraudulent scheme operating out of the UK. [The Register]
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.
Offers free pdf-format books about fighting Nigerian 419 letter scams and email fraud.
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]
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]
Info about an alleged employment and job training scam running in Chicago.
Description of the scam's mechanics, history, senders' aliases, ways to easily identify the scam email, and related links.
Snopes.com 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.
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.
Federal Trade Commission alert on those polite letters from strangers in trouble, which promise a large financial reward for discreetly helping them.
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.
Examines the 419 scam as well as its history, going back several decades. [Slate]
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