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Not so long ago, the company and private clients began to receive letters from distant Nigeria, in which a certain high-ranking official of this country offers to become a commercial partner of the national oil corporation and receive a commission for this. Usually 99% of people laugh at such an offer, sending them to the trash, but there will always be someone who decides to check what is the matter.
After all, you just need to provide a bank account number, suddenly some money will get there. It is this one percent that is the clientele of the Nigerian crime syndicate, which has been spinning a major criminal fraud around the world for decades. This fraud is called "Scheme 419" after the title of the article number of the Nigerian Criminal Code.
After the client gets in touch with the senders, a vigorous activity begins to prepare for sending money to his account. This is evidenced by numerous faxes from Africa with a bunch of state seals. And now, when the money is almost received, it turns out that it is necessary to pay the tax for transferring funds abroad.
The amount of the tax is rather small compared to the expected jackpot, so entrepreneurs usually without thinking twice transfer some 10 thousand dollars to Nigeria. Further - more, now you have to pay a bank commission in the amount of 20 thousand. It becomes clear to many that they are on the hook, but cannot stop, since the desired goal is close.
This is followed by duties, account opening fees, bribes, government fees, etc. The businessman will pay and pay until he realizes his cruel mistake or until the funds run out. The worst option would be to go personally to Africa to find out everything on the spot. After all, defeat in the game on a foreign field is guaranteed. The businessman will be greeted with open arms and held meetings with high-ranking "officials". But there is only one goal - to receive money from a foreigner, there are even cases of murders in Nigeria connected with the "Scheme 419".
This type of fraud itself originated in the mid-80s. The fact is that Nigeria has not only the largest population on the mainland, but also significant reserves of oil and gas. However, after gaining independence in the 60s, the country has never been able to realize its potential and gain political stability. This led to the emergence and spread of organized crime, implementing their schemes. And the collapse of oil prices in the 80s led to the release of a group of educated and highly paid specialists, who formed the backbone of the "Scheme 419".
Today, the scale of the crime syndicate's activities is astounding, and with the advent of the Internet, they have increased even more. Letters from Nigeria are sold by the millions around the world today. Although such a scheme will seem ridiculous to many, only in the United States, according to police estimates, fraudsters collect about one hundred million dollars annually, with a clear upward trend. Today, the number of addressees and the Russians, on a global scale, the account goes to hundreds of millions a year.
The calculation of criminals is simple - greed drowns out the voice of reason. Some experts even estimate that the "419 Scheme" is the third largest item in the turnover of the economy in Nigeria. Here's one example. An accountant at a small law firm, Ann Poet, received a letter from Dr. Mbuso Nelson, who represented South African mining.
Over the course of eight months in 2002, Ann transferred a total of 2.1 million to South African accounts, expecting to receive 4.5 million of her commissions. Of course, she did not receive any money, but she will most likely receive a prison sentence. The legal company is unsuccessfully trying to get its funds back, arguing that their accountant had no right to transfer money.
There are several hundred, or even thousands, options for such a letter. Some of them can be considered true literary masterpieces, as tears are welling up when reading them. These are letters from the unfortunate general's widow, who needs your help to withdraw money and a letter about winning a large amount of money in the lottery. A fresh version of the scam on this topic was called "Black Money".
In this case, millions of dollars in cash were taken out of Nigeria to the United States, and for safety they underwent a chemical treatment that made the bills completely black. The client is offered to buy an expensive reagent to return the money to a normal form, and for convincingness it is shown how the last 2-3 drops of magic liquid are made from black paper into a full-fledged one hundred dollar bill. Needless to say, a gullible client will end up with a bunch of incomprehensible pieces of paper and unknown liquid?
For US law enforcement, Nigerian organized crime has become a real headache. In America, in general, there is a rather large Nigerian diaspora, numbering about 100 thousand people, it is not surprising that these people use a variety of schemes, and not just sending out attractive letters. For example, smart fraud involving credit cards, bank accounts, etc. is often used.
In 2002, a telecom employee, Philip Cummings, was charged with selling customer data (names, account numbers, credit history, etc.) to criminals for $ 60 a set. As a result, on behalf of the client, the bank received a letter about the change of address, a new credit card, checkbook was issued to the new fictitious address, and a credit line was opened. The number of victims was more than 30 thousand, and the total amount of damage reached almost 3 million.
In the United States, there is even a special state program to combat Nigerian crime, within which the work of various services and bodies is coordinated. So far, there are not so many successes, only those who work directly in the United States have been able to detain. More often than not, criminals operate directly in Nigeria, and the Americans have no connection with the justice of this country.
The authorities of the African country even issued special press releases informing that the state does not bear any responsibility for the activities of fraudsters. As a result, Nigeria got into a kind of "black list" as a state that does not fight financial crime properly.
However, not everything is so sad in the fight against fraudsters, a breakthrough was made in 2002 by South African law enforcement agencies, who arrested several people in Nigeria, Cameroon and South Africa at once, who are suspected of committing such fraud. Some of them have already been convicted and are serving impressive prison terms. During the arrest, the swindlers were found to have discs with lists of addresses of firms in the USA and England, samples of Nigerian letters, as well as several dozen phones and SIM cards for them.
It is not known for certain whether "Scheme 419" has a single brain center, or whether it is a folk craft. It is said that in any Internet cafe in West Africa there are several people industriously sending out tempting offers. The secret services, however, fail to get involved in these criminal schemes, because they are often based on tribal relations, where outsiders are simply not allowed.