Advance Fee Fraud aka 419

Advanced Fee Fraud is a criminal offence defined and punishable under section 419 of the Nigeria criminal code.  The scam has it is now widely known is initiated by syndicates with members in different parts of the world strategically located to implement their different tasks to ensure the success of the deals. As the name of the crime implied the fraudsters through deception obtain money or goods from the victims in advance in lure of a promised financial benefits accruable to the victims after the conclusion of the DEAL.

We should also note here that THE DEALS are usually  not legal, there are always an indication of a bribe to be paid to some “Government and or Bank officials”, evasion of “official tax”  and other illegal activities to ensure the success of the deal. What usually attracts the victims to co-operate with the fraudsters are the attractive financial benefits they hope to gain at the end of the deal, thus in the real sense both the fraudsters and the victims have wrong motives.

The scam is initiated with the fraudster contacting a targeted victim, either by fax, phone or e- mail and a  proposal or request made  with the fraudster posing as senior government officials, a victim or dependant of government’s abuse of human rights . They claim that they are in possession of a large amount of money. The proposal usually involves the transfer of the money to a bank account outside of Nigeria, to that of the targeted victim. A plausible or sympathetic explanation is usually given for the transfer, although they basically appeal to the intended victim’s greed who is usually promised a sizeable percentage of the money transferred, as a commission, for the use of the bank account.

If the intended victim is interested in the deal, they are requested to forward a variety of paperwork which generally includes blank company letterheads which are duly signed, blank invoices, telephone and fax numbers, and especially bank account details. These being required to effect the transfer of the money into the bank account


  • URGENCY: The letter will stress the urgency of the matter.

  • CONFIDENTIALITY: The confidential nature of the transaction is stressed.

  • FORGED DOCUMENTS: Many forged official-looking documents

  •  STRONG TIES: Claims are made that the other parties are employed in, or have strong ties with the Nigerian Government,  the Central Bank of Nigeria, NNPC or dependants of  a dead or living victim government’s human rights abuse.

  • VERY HUGE SUMS OF MONEY: The deal always involves the transfer of huge sums of money usually in Dollars either kept in a secret vault or account known only to the fraudster.

  • NO RISK: The victims are usually told there are no risks involve
  • BANK DETAILS: The bank details of the victim are requested and some personal documents.

  • ADVANCE FEE: Finally an advance fee are usually required to  either pay for some legal fees, transfer fees or bribe government or bank officials.

The Internet has not only brought about the development in communications and commerce and all other facets of human endeavours, but it has also provided a platform for criminals to take advantage of unsuspecting members of the public using a faster and cheaper means of communicating to the targeted victim. Unlike other criminal activities, crime on the Internet has no boundary, has a scam letter can be sent from Nigeria to any part of the world, poising enough challenges to law enforcement agencies all over the world.

If you receive any scam mail you can contact: