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Advance Fee Fraud

These are letters or emails originating from the African continent - in particular Nigeria, Togo and South Africa - asking for help in transferring funds to this country.

Do not respond to them at all.

The letters can take various different forms but generally promise a percentage of the cash being transferred as a reward for your help.

Some examples include:

  • Tales of family members being executed, forcing the surviving members of the family to live in exile and needing help to get their funds from accounts holding vast sums of money.
  • As part of an organisation they were able to over-invoice companies and now want to grab the illicit money, but require the assistance of a foreign account holder.
Sums of between US$10m and US$25m are frequently quoted as being salted away in the accounts, with an offer of between five and 20 percent of the total offered as your share for helping with the transfer. More may be offered to cover any expenses that may be incurred.

In reality the money does not exist. Individuals who pursue the offer will soon reach a stage where, in order for the 'funds' to be released, you will be asked to fund charges on the understanding that you will be refunded from the 'expenses account'.

Another common approach is to respond to items on web sites where items are offered for sale. They claim they want to purchase the item and that someone who owes them money will send the vendor a cheque which will be for an inflated amount. The vendor is asked to cash the cheque and forward the balance via a cash transfer system such as Western Union or Money gram to a ‘shipper’ as soon as the cheque clears. The vendor will subsequently be notified that the cheque is fraudulent thereby leaving them out of pocket.

Hampshire Constabulary have until now collated all details of these frauds on behalf of National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS). However they have now focussed on different elements of these crimes and no longer require details of the typical approaches made by the fraudsters. As such we are no longer collating details.

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