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From: UNIRAS (UK Govt CERT) [uniras@niscc.gov.uk]
Sent: 08 November 2001 14:13
Subject: UNIRAS Briefing - 212/01 - Advanced Fee Fraud


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 UNIRAS (UK Govt CERT) Briefing Notice - 212/01 dated 08.11.01  Time: 13:52
 UNIRAS Briefings are also available from our website at www.uniras.gov.uk
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Advanced Fee Fraud

UNIRAS Comment
UNIRAS is receiving increasing numbers of reports concerning 'advanced
fee fraud'. The following advice has been drafted with the assistance of 
the National Criminal Intelligence Service(NCIS).

The NCIS West African Organised Crime Section handles intelligence 
related to West African organised criminality. Strategic intelligence 
has identified that West African organised crime groups have a significant 
impact on the economy of industrialised countries all over the world.

The main activities of these groups are fraud against individuals and
companies and drug trafficking. Fraud committed by West African crime groups
is estimated to cost the UK at least 3.5 billion a year. The most common
type of fraud is 'advance fee'. This is known as 4-1-9 fraud after the penal
code in Nigeria that makes it illegal. 'Black money' fraud also has a high
profile. These groups also carry out highly organised housing, social
security and other grant frauds. The profits of these crimes are often 
used to finance drug trafficking, where the same middlemen transport 
drugs from source to consumer countries.

'419' Letters are distributed by post, fax and email. In a typical '419'
(advanced fee fraud) letter, the author purports to be a senior government
or central bank official who has managed to over inflate a contract,
generating a personal profit. In return for help smuggling money out of the
country, the recipient is offered a percentage, usually between 10% and 30%.
At first no money is requested but once a victim has been drawn in, requests
are made for legal and administrative costs. Victims have lost hundreds of
thousands of pounds in some cases.


NCIS has hundreds of examples of people being duped out of thousands of
pounds. Companies who have sent polite letters of refusal have their 
letterheads abused.

If you do receive a 419 letter, fax, or e-mail please report it to your
local police station who should forward it to their local fraud squad. 

The National Criminal Intelligence Service, West African Organised Crime 
Section however wish to hear from any individuals who have actually lost 
money as the result of these scams. All enquiries will be treated 
confidentially. Please contact them directly by phone on 020 7238 8012.

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For additional information or assistance, please contact the UNIRAS HELP 
Desk by telephone or Not Protectively Marked information may be sent via 
EMail to:

Tel: 020 7821 1330 Ext 4511
Fax: 020 7821 1686

UNIRAS material is also available from our website at www.uniras.gov.uk 
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UNIRAS wishes to acknowledge the contribution of NCIS for the information 
contained in this briefing. 
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UNIRAS shall also accept no responsibility for any errors or omissions 
contained within this briefing notice. In particular, UNIRAS shall not be 
liable for any loss or damage whatsoever, arising from or in connection with 
the usage of information contained within this notice.

UNIRAS is a member of the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) 
and has contacts with other international Incident Response Teams (IRTs) in 
order to foster cooperation and coordination in incident prevention, to prompt 
rapid reaction to incidents, and to promote information sharing amongst its 
members and the community at large. 
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<End of UNIRAS Briefing>

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