How many victims?
If "victims" is defined as those who lose money to the 419ers, we have no solid basis whatsoever for these stats, but we'd say conservatively, overall, hundreds of thousands over the years, and tens of thousands each year. And yes, we'd say the numbers are growing, though the average dollar loss per victim is decreasing, due to the larger amount of 419ers specializing in smaller return scams like Cashier's Check
419, Lottery 419, auction and sales 419 etc.
(relatively) Small loss victims - in general these have fallen for one of the many quick scams, examples are: lottery fraud, the job- study place -offer, inheritance scam or the
relief fund scam.
The total losses per victim vary between 200 and 30000 dollar over a period of a couple of months to half a year
Medium loss victims - In general these victims have fallen for the request for help to move and/or invest millions. More recent victims were offered substantial low interest loan for which they have to pay all types of advance fees.
The total losses per victim vary from 15000 to 210000 dollar over a period of a year to one and a half year.
High loss victims - In general these victims enjoyed a high education and have been introduced to "the original 419 Advance Fee Scam" which has evolved in the past 25 years to what it became now. A fraudulent proposal based on a REAL business of multinational proportions (oil, gold, diamonds, medical equipment, vaccines, chemicals, investments, building and/or service contracts), very often the business at hand relates to the business of the victim or bussiness-contacts of the victim and the victim is required to show genuine possibilities and experience to import or export goods and/or services before the first Advance Fees are generated.
Very often the losses are not limited to the Advanced Fees which end up in the pockets of the scam organization. These variations of the 419 scam have in a majority of the cases a fall out to all the other business and private connections of the victim who are unaware brought in to the scam by the innocent victim. Very often the victim and his associates have to invest in: costly preparations - start up real production - pay real subcontractors - to facilitate "the business" with the scammers and this leads to a snowball effect of damages which have included serious down sizing and bankruptcies of the companies involved.
Damages are not limited to private persons or their enterprises, public companies just "feel a higher need" for hiding (translating) the consequences for the public.
The total losses per case, vary from 300 thousand to 12 million dollar over a period of one and a half to 8 years or longer, but we are aware of cases with higher damages. Cases with damages between half a million and a million dollar are quite common.
All victims - sustain emotional damages and when scammed for a longer period they appear to have a "connection" with their scammers which can be compared to the Stockholm-Syndrom. When this occurs it very often proves difficult to convince victims of the fact that they are the victim of a common but non the less elaborate advance fee scam. In many cases victims immediately contact their "trusted" scam contacts to discuss the problem they have with the people who have warned them for the scam, and the scam organization is equipped with all the fake detectives, FBI, Interpol and Secret Service agents or other fake officials necessary to gain control over the victim again.
Total 419 losses around the world- The best 419 statistics ever published untill our 419 Unit published its first edition of 419 stats in March 2006, were given by Special Agent Craig Spraggins of the US Secret Service, who was Special Agent in Charge of the now defunct Joint West African Fraud Task Force in testimony before a US Congressional subcommittee in 1998.
He said that estimated US losses per annum were $300 million, and estimated total losses worldwide per annum were $750 million (making the rest of the world's figure $450 million per annum).
You can multiply that by the number of years 419 has been running (25 plus) to arrive at a figure of some $19 Billion plus dollars. There is no need to lower the estimates or take a more conservative point of view, since it has been a faster growing business since the year 2000 with an explosive growth in 2003.
In terms of losses by country, the US is first, UK second, Japan third, but there are also heavy losses in Spain, Korea, Germany, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, India, etc. and there have been losses to 419ers reported from nearly every country on the globe, 419 is a global affair and it is important to stress this.
2013 stats released by our 419unit in July 2014 click here