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A Comprehensive Look at Fraud Identification and Prevention by James R. Youngblood

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167
Chapter 9
Advance Fee Fraud
9.1 Introduction
Advance fee fraud, also referred to as up- front fee fraud, is any type of scam in
which the victim or victims pay an up- front fee for money, products, services, assis-
tance, and so on. ese scams have many forms of initiation, with a high level of
attempts. In exchange for promised money or services, the potential or target vic-
tims are many, and the methods of contact vary. e individuals committing this
type of fraud can work in groups or alone. eir ultimate goal is to select a wide
pool of targets.
e methods of contact for a successful advance fee fraud can vary from an
actual mailed letter, e- mail, advertisement, potential job announcement, and so
on. To gain the attention of the potential victim or target, the fraudster can write
a letter to tug at the heartstrings of a person or can seem to offer large monetary
payment, help locate a missing child or family member, or aid law enforcement in
the capture of a criminal. e individuals committing the various types of advance
fee fraud cast a wide net or solicit a wide range or large number of targets. To be
profitable, the criminals only need to have success with defrauding a few individu-
als even though they contact thousands.
Many individuals working as security, loss prevention, or law enforcement pro-
fessionals will cite what is referred to as a Nigerian 419 letter when referencing
many advance fee frauds. is type of scam received its name because it originated
in the country of Nigeria, and the former Nigerian criminal code number for theft
under deception was 419. Since its inception, this type of crime has moved beyond
the borders of Nigeria and is practiced by fraudsters worldwide.
168A Comprehensive Look at Fraud Identification and Prevention
9.2 419 Advance Fee Fraud Letter Scams
e types of letter generated by advance fee scams are now referred to as an advance
fee fraud, but many professionals in the financial crimes community still use the
419 terminology. For the purposes of this section, these letters are referred to
as 419 letters.
On receiving or looking at one of these letters, most professionally minded
individuals will have their Spiderman senses alerted and recognize a problem.
Unfortunately, there is a history of recipients who have responded to the requests
in the letters, and the hook has been set. Past victims of this type of fraud are not
limited to the individual. Many past victims have been business owners and execu-
tives, who have actually lost company assets as a result of this type of fraud.
e most current method of delivery of these letters is through unsolicited
e- mail, but there are still those delivered the old- fashioned way through the US
mail. e most likely targets or recipients have been small business operations,
churches, nonprofit organizations, and individuals. However, the target list is not
limited to the groups previously outlined.
e letters are written to seek an immediate business relationship with confi-
dentiality vital for all parties to become profitable. e proposed sender of the letter
is usually identified as some type of official in a high- up position in the government
in the country of origin.
Sample 419/Advance Fee Fraud Letter
MR JINHO LEE. <mrjinholee@undp.org>
(PRIVATE DEAL FROM UNDP PROJECT MANAGER
ASIA- PACIFIC)
Greetings?
Firstly, i must apologies for barging into your mailbox with-
out formal introduction of myself to you, actually, I got your
contact information from a reputable business/ professional
Directory of your country which gives me assurance of your
legibility as a person while trying to get a good and capable
business person in your country for business and investment
purposes, this why without wasting any time i am seeking a
decision maker to grab my offering $64,000,000,Yours free!
With some simple conditions you will need to follow and
work closely with me, you can’t say my generous offer of 50%
$64,000,000 a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Have i got your attention?

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