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Fraud Alert

West African advanced fee fraud

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Meetings

Where do the meetings take place?

Victims are often encouraged to travel to Nigeria to complete transactions; some do and eventually arrive penniless at their own embassies in Lagos with a long tale of woe. Mostly they will be asked to travel to a neutral country where the "official" handover can take place. London has long been the favourite venue for this, however in recent times South Africa and Spain have become popular. Victims from the United Kingdom are invariably taken abroad. Violence has not been a factor in commission of these frauds in London however victims travelling to South Africa have been subjected to violent assaults, robbery and in one case, murder.

Why?

The criminals can control the victim. Meetings can be controlled in areas of a city unfamiliar to the victim. The victim may be reluctant to report worries to a foreign law enforcement agency. The criminals rely on jurisdictional problems within the law in any prosecution. Ultimately if a cheque is handed over on behalf of the "Central Bank of Nigeria" or similar institution and further "fees" have been extracted the cheque will prove to be a worthless forgery.

Even when the victim has concluded "the deal" or refuses to pay any more, the criminals will not leave the victim alone and re-victimisation is rife. They may pose as real Nigerian government officials, task force officers or police officers giving stories that "the previous people were crooks and we want to help you and get your money back". This will either be the same Nigerian criminal cell or another cell who have "bought" the victim details. In order to proceed with the investigation or prosecution they will give a sob story of how poor the country is and require - YES - a fee, to help with their investigation - and some victims pay!

The US Department Of State has described it as: "...kind of like gambling. You get in so deep you keep putting money in to get something out of it."

Remember: "If it sounds too good to be true, then it is!"


Specialist Crime OCU Fraud Squad
Wellington House, 67-73 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6BE
web www.met.police.uk/fraudalert
e-mail fraud.alert@met.police.uk