Advance Fee Fraud

If you are a victim of Advance fee fraud (AFF), also known as a 419 scam, it will usually involve you or your company receiving an email purporting to be from a government official of a foreign country, often from Africa or Asia. You will be asked in this email to give small sums of money or bank details in exchange for huge returns.


Lagos, Nigeria.Attention: The President/CEO

Dear Sir,

Confidential Business Proposal

Having consulted with my colleagues and based on the information gathered from the Nigerian Chambers Of Commerce And Industry, I have the privilege to request your assistance to transfer the sum of $47,500,000.00 (forty seven million, five hundred thousand United States dollars) into your accounts. The above sum resulted from an over-invoiced contract, executed, commissioned and paid for about five years (5) ago by a foreign contractor. This action was however intentional and since then the fund has been in a suspense account at The Central Bank Of Nigeria Apex Bank.

We are now ready to transfer the fund overseas and that is where you come in. It is important to inform you that as civil servants, we are forbidden to operate a foreign account; that is why we require your assistance. The total sum will be shared as follows: 70% for us, 25% for you and 5% for local and international expenses incidental to the transfer.

The transfer is risk free on both sides. I am an accountant with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). If you find this proposal acceptable, we shall require the following documents:

(a) your banker's name, telephone, account and fax numbers.

(b) your private telephone and fax numbers —for confidentiality and easy communication.

(c) your letter-headed paper stamped and signed.

Alternatively we will furnish you with the text of what to type into your letter-headed paper, along with a breakdown explaining, comprehensively what we require of you. The business will take us thirty (30) working days to accomplish.

Please reply urgently.

Best regards

Howgul Abul Arhu

How does it affect me? You may end up giving away personal information, including name, address, telephone number and bank details which can later be used against your company or be used as part of another crime. It will most likely result in you giving away huge sums of money. It’s what criminals call the “confidence trick,” and if you fall for it, it can get your business into all kinds of trouble.

Top tips:

  • The best way to deal with AFF is to delete the email immediately. Even a reply refusing to accept the offer may encourage further contact. Request staff to do the same.
  • Also enabling a good email filter will block many of these types of messages.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

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Morgan Cole
University of Wales, Newport