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Advance Fee Fraud

A SPECIFIC TYPE of fraud that has become synonymous with African-based criminal groups, and Nigerian criminal enterprises in particular, is popularly referred to as advance fee fraud (also called “419 Fraud” after the relevant section of the Nigerian Criminal Code). This fraud scheme emerged in the early 1980s and is a variation of the confidence swindle, which preys on peoples' greed and naively. Advance fee fraud targets individuals and businesses offering huge sums of money from government officials or businessmen in African countries. The targets of the fraud—which include businesses and individuals—receive a solicitation (by letter, fax, and increasingly e-mail) from a businessman or ex-government official in an African country, promising that a large sum of money (often in the tens of millions of dollars) ...

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