Next to Nigeria there are "419 fraud" cells in nearly every country on earth. Benin, the UK, South Africa, and Spain are heavily infested. 419er operations are on the up-tick in China (both mainland China and Hong Kong), India and in Malaysia. There are 419er cells in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Ghana, Brazil, Egypt, Russia, Pakistan, and the Czech Republic. These days, about the only place on earth without 419 cells is Antarctica - for now, anyway.
2.1. Small loss
In general these have fallen for one of the many quick scams, examples are: lottery fraud, the job- study place visa -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.
2.2. Medium loss
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.
2.3. High loss
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 business-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.
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 downsizing 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 their share holders.
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.
2.4. 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-Syndrome. When this occurs it very often proves difficult to convince victims of the fact that they are the victim of a common but none 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
3.1. For the Bigger Scams Victims Need to Trust their own Capabilities and Experience
High-achieving professionals are the most likely to be defrauded, while the poor are harder to trick as they do not trust their own judgment. Doctors are especially vulnerable to scams that encourage them to do good. They often fall for a scam that starts with a request to help the less fortunate. "You need the victims to trust their own capabilities and experience." Our research, also shows a strong correlation between being conned and a family trauma. Among people who lose more than 150,000 pound to e- mail fraudsters, there is an 85% chance of a recent, parent-related event such as death or acrimonious separation impairing their judgment.
Doctors, architects, engineers and other white-collar professionals are being conned by e-mail fraudsters who lure them into contributing to fake ventures after taking their details from conference websites.
3.1.1. Child-Parent Trauma
Research, showed a strong correlation between white-collar victims and a recent or life-changing family trauma, which appeared to have impaired their judgment.
A review of 362 of the most serious cases, in which victims lost more than 150,000 pound, found that 85 per cent had suffered a parent-related trauma's either death or an acrimonious separation.
The report concludes that those who have suffered a bereavement appear to be more likely to be duped.
One victim, whose father died in a car accident when he was 12, has lost more than $ 500,000 (250,000 pound) over seven years despite having the intelligence to gain a doctorate and help to run his family's business. The victim continued to believe that the fraudsters were genuine.
The poorly educated or financially inexperienced people are not so desirable to scammers because they did not trust their own judgment and soon realised that they had been duped.
Doctors are especially vulnerable to scams that encouraged them to do good. They very often fall for a scam that starts with a request to help the less fortunate in the world through good causes. To perpetrate the bigger scams you need the victims to trust their own capabilities and experience.
A significant number of high-loss cases involved specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists and neurosurgeons.
The 308 victims who said they had suffered child-parent trauma included two police commissioners of large cities, respected entrepreneurs and 17 directors of companies listed on stock exchanges.
The 55-year-old man, from the west coast of America, witnessed his father die in a car accident at a young age, a traumatic event similar to the majority of highly educated scam victims.
His ordeal began in 2001 with an e-mail offering him a trunk of money filled with dyed banknotes. The socalled "wash wash" scam, which was first developed by Nigerian fraudsters in the 1970s, involves a suitcase filled with worthless black paper, which the scammers claim are dollar bills stained to avoid detection by customs officials.
The victim, who sees a demonstration of bills apparently being washed clean, buys the trunk and then purchases "chemicals" that supposedly remove the dye. John agreed to pay a series of imaginary fees ranging from $300 to $10,000. He would hand over more cash no matter how outlandish the reason because he believed that the next payment would be the last.
One fee he paid was ostensibly to get a holy man to lift a curse that had been placed on a consignment held in customs. "My cousin is completely conditioned," John's cousin said. "He really had his soul corrupted and ruined by interaction with these people." The victim has stolen money from his mother's retirement fund and used his cousin's bank account to accept fraudulent payments.
He ignores any advice, even from fraud experts who tell him to stop all communications with the scammers because that he is participating in well-documented scams, because he cannot accept his mistakes. "He believes that one of these days he is going to prove to everybody that he was right all along, and that we are idiots. The idea of making amends (for involving his family in fraud) is overwhelming to him. (in 2017 sixteen years after his first contact) He would rather he is right, so he could have his self-esteem back."
3.2.1. When a Guy hits the JACKPOT
As for the Nigerian fraudsters who solicited John s help in 2001 and many other actors that got involved during the intermezzo s, once John became their Mugu or Maga they hit the JACKPOT!
High Loss victims like John are the rewards, portrayed by their very rich and in their city acclaimed (mentor) Oga, that every scammer hopes for from the very day they start with sending scam proposals to thousands of foreigners and become a Yahoo Boy or Guy. As long as John and many others continue to respond, the scammers will stay in business as they are always one step ahead, prepared to counter any logical reasoning and another legitimate reason to advance fees.
• This can enable and lead to increasing corruption
• Which in turn can enable money laundering through illicit cash flows
• Which then divert and starve funds of developing economies that are already cash poor and suffer from capital-starvation.
The amount of money that is laundered annually is of truly colossal proportions. ML poses an existential threat to all countries. It warrants and demands thorough oversight and a transnational prevention strategy. The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) calculated recently, “hundreds of billions of pounds are laundered through UK banks each year.”
Ultrascan FIU Financial Intelligence Unit - A mixture of intelligence gathering, investigations, reputational risk mitigation and Innovative Technology in line of objectives. Focused on external information and stakeholder engagement, to detect exposure to financial crime risk.