continuously need to make a
convincing argument for centralized 419 reporting with the police in
the different countries. We have asked an expert and
you can read what his opinion is: click here
=================================================== Released June 3 2006
crime syndicates have about
3.500.000 “ghost” accounts under their control.
makes it difficult for Governments, Central banks, Financial
Intelligence Units (FIU/MOT), Anti-Terrorism departments and "others
with the urge" to track money that is moving (invisible) out of
are continuously surprised at the extent of 419 Advance Fee Fraud
organizations. Investigations along the lines of "follow the money and
identity trail" are often no answer to the 419 AFF criminal
Advance Fee Fraud organizations have continuously collected bank
account details of, and made agreements with, gullible private citizens
and businesses in most countries around the globe, and they use these
accounts in their operations.
give an idea of the size of the problem in terms of following money
trails, over 18.000 organized fraudsters (that assume fake identities),
based around the world, have been and continuously are contracting
gullible people to receive and send money via their bank accounts and
following the payment instructions of the AFF organizations.
people are often told that they can be the local representative for a
foreign export-business and as such they will receive payments from
clients and forward those payments to another destination that is
revealed to them at the last moment.
is our conservative estimate that on any given day the 419 AFF crime
syndicates have about 3.500.000 of those “ghost” accounts at their
first two questions are: Are these accounts only used for 419
AFF? If not, is the possibility to use these accounts for
crimes" in addition to 419 AFF enough reason for governments
take action, or do we need additional reasons before the 419 AFF
problem is addressed ? The third question is: Who is
qualified to answer the first two questions ??? --- Notes: -
the number of 18.000 organized fraudsters is an interpolated number of
419 AFF scammers in 37 countries excluding Nigeria, different types of
extrapolation would result in numbers between 250.000 and 500.000 419
AFF fraudsters including Nigeria. -it
concerns qualified scammers who, in general, work the 419 AFF daily
from morning till night except in most cases not between Saturday
afternoon and early Monday morning. -
Government agencies and NGO’s do not have the knowledge nor the
resources to be successful in warning the public effectively for 419
AFF scams, which compounds the problem that warning the public will not
help to solve the problem of unpredictable money transfers via “ghost”
Government agencies and NGO’s do not address the growing 419 problem
because one can not address a problem if one does not have the right
picture and as long as 419 AFF is cross-referenced with not compatible
(old) analysis and modus operandi against not relevant statistics, no
one will have that picture. -
In the future, governments will have to warn the public for this type
of arrangements that involve their bank account, in the same fashion as
when we were made more responsive to unattended luggage in a public
space. - The situation as described
in this report is only one of the many, maybe more dangerous, results
from leaving the 419 AFF problem unattended.
Law enforcement, - only good
enough for window dressing
419 Advance Fee Fraud
outstripping Law Enforcement's meager attempts to control it.
3 Decades of 419 Advance Fee
Fraud -Tens of millions of victims -Over 3 billion US$ losses
worldwide in 2005 -Over 250,000 perpetrators,
growth rate minimum 3% per year -Law makers ignorant of 419 AFF -Policy
makers and law enforcement, who have no reliable statistics or analysis
still associating 419 AFF with the modus operandi of other crimes such
as cyber crime, drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorism.
way law enforcement is structured, motivated and equipped now, it is
impossible to win the battle against 419 Advance Fee Fraud. Law
enforcement has had 30 years to formulate an effective strategy. They
some countries, law enforcement, task forces and departments who
suppose to be 419 AFF experts only scratch the surface of the problem.
Worldwide, there is (maximum) one “419 expert” per 55,000 law
enforcement officers. We believe there should be at least 8
specialists, as well as a supporting office in every (federal)
419 AFF criminals (Low estimate of over 250,000 worldwide) are not
deterred because of the extremely low probability of capture,
prosecution or property seizure.
small and expensive results gained by law enforcement are a farce
compared to the current global size and explosive growth of 419 AFF. Recent
international police actions prove that law enforcement and politicians
are not only ignorant of the methods employed by scammers, but are
routinely making strategic mistakes.
example, in recent months some low ranking 419 AFF scammers were
arrested during operation Global Con, 90% of them never see a courtroom
and are sent back to their home country, only to improve their criminal
skills and recruit more scammers to set up in another country.
there is some, but by far not enough, collaboration among police and
other types of law enforcement agencies in various countries. This
is haphazard and based on specific 419 AFF case information that can be
used only in very limited circumstances. Information accidentally
gathered by the partners in these collaborations. A well intentioned
attempt, but with no serious structure or strategy, just adequate for
window dressing and sure to fail in the long-term.
international collaboration on informal basis be changed to
collaboration based on uniform treaties or laws. This will help in the
long-term to solve current extradition problems. It is clear that
merely adopting law, arresting and trying to prosecute perpetrators has
not been effective. Multilateral treaties are the only answer to this
kind of international fraud. Unfortunately, in the
short-term, this will not even make a dent in the growth of 419 AFF.
Police in many countries have
been trying to educate the public not to fall for such scams. After 3 decades of unlimited
419 AFF, education has proven to be largely ineffective. This can no longer be used as
an excuse for government’s failure to control AFF.
419 AFF organizations have proved to be two steps ahead of law
enforcement, the police should, in place of only educating the public
about past AFF strategies, educate law enforcers about what 419 AFF is
and give them an effective structure to fight it. Law enforcement
doesn’t respect the victim or take the crime seriously because the
prevailing attitude is that a 419 victim is greedy and/or ignorant and
should have been more diligent.
Another assumption is that all
419 AFF perpetrators are young West-Africans with a minimal education
wants to be warned about being greedy, stupid or ignorant when
communicating with a minimally educated scammer? This is how we are
preparing potential victims to fall for new scams.
the sophistication of 419 AFF that has fooled thousands of experienced
professional businesspeople, there is a need for more intensive and
precise campaigns to eliminate this form of organized crime, regardless
of the nationality of the perpetrator and the intentions of the victim.
the solution would be a combination of public education, legal,
technological and pro-active means to limit 419 AFF communications. In
addition, victim-friendly centralized access for the public to report
419 AFF is essential. AFF is not classified as a
cyber crime, unlike spam, which is.
AFF spam will temporarily decrease incidences of 419 AFF (Cybercrime)
but such improvement might go unnoticed in the future statistics
because of the enormous growth of the 419 AFF organizations who have
always found ways to reach their targets. At
this moment we believe that in the near future e-mail will still be a
large part but no longer be the main means for 419 AFF organizations to
reach their targets.
The current dismal status of
419 AFF law enforcement and prevention is an insult to millions of
are no centralized counter-AFF operations. Because of the absence of
centralized operations, law enforcement has not kept track of AFF
worldwide. Available statistics underestimate the situation enormously,
on average by a factor of 8.
counter 419 operations will be much more efficient and result in lower
costs to the taxpayer than current fragmented operations
has investigated 419 AFF since 1995. It is our opinion that without
centralized counter 419 AFF operations and pro-active research, 419 AFF
will remain the most prevalent fraud in the world and become much more
of a dominant global crime factor.
the above we have deliberately omitted crimes that are present in the
slipstream of 419 AFF. When surrounded by drug trafficking, money
laundering and terrorism, AFF has a tendency to seem relatively benign.
intelligence and local police departments.
we receive evidence of advance fee scammers being active from certain
locations we inform the local police and direct victims to the police
department where their complaint sort the best effect.
When we receive evidence or
information not available to the public we inform law enforcement
basic element of the 419 advance fee fraud is that it involves at least
two but in general 3 or more countries. This is done on purpose to make
investigating and prosecuting the crime more complicated if not
add to that problem, the police/justice departments of most countries
have agreement to send and receive inquiries concerning
other countries via Interpol. (Exceptions are made in particular cases
or under special treaties between countries, also for special 419
this would not be a problem if most countries didn't have a central
point of reception for foreign help request and those departments are
very often understaffed, in some countries it can take years before a
certain help request lands on the right desk, if ever, sometimes the
officers who handle the victims file in the countries involved don't
work there anymore, and even if they still do work there, we couldn't
find a single one (except for policy makers) happy with the time wasted.
in to account that 419 scammers are very fast changing places, numbers
and identities, the victims can virtually forget about filing a
complaint with the police in their own country. To stand a chance the
victims are better off when they file a complaint were the scam took
place and payments were received by the scammers, otherwise there is a
chance that their complaint only adds to the statistics at Interpol.
you want to have the fraudsters catched or increase the chance that the
police will find any money, we advise you to find the right police
departments to file your 419 complaint as fast as possible. Otherwise
the system has proven to be to slow to catch 419 Advance Fee Scammers,
and unless there is already an investigation running in to the scamring
that scammed you , not only your money is lost but the scammers too
is already slow and the police is in the first place there to catch
criminals, only secondary to find and return money that legally is