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Nigerian Scam - Advance Fees A form of fraud where you are required to advance money in the hope of realizing a larger gain. Often the victim is given the “opportunity” to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that the author is trying to get out of the country. Advance Fee Fraud is: Often run from Nigeria and other countries Also called 419 scams (Nigerian legal code) A new version of the Spanish Prisioner scam Where you are promised money, but you have to pay up front for certain fees or bribes You are made an accomplice You receive a check, but have to send on a portion of the money right away Variants include lottery, romance, charity, fraud recovery, craigslist, fake job offers, etc.
mousetrap with dollar bill as bait labeled free money
Scammers use your greed against you by offering free money; you just have to pay a few fees upfront. Sure.
Advance Fee Fraud Prevention Tips: Advance Fee Fraud Red Flags: If it seems too good to be true =  it is too good to be true Payment is requested in advance The offer is urgent and confidential Payment is much smaller than the promised payoff; almost incidental Transfer of funds from an ‘over-invoiced’ contract Assistance escaping the country Help accessing forgotten, former regime or deposed dictator’s funds Money laundering, work-at-home jobs that involve cashing checks and sending money Money for chemicals to ‘clean’ marked currency Fraudsters pretending that you have won a lottery Gifts or bequests to charities that you need to facilitate or participate in Making you ring a premium phone line in the hope of winning a prize You may be guilty of a federal crime if you cash a check and then send money after keeping a finders fee. That is illegal money laundering and can land you in jail. Signs of email frauds in general: The email is unsolicited The tone, grammar, and overall style of the email are noticeably less polished and professional than expected from a reputable, established corporation The situation described seems bizarre or unlikely What to do if you think that an offer might be genuine: Contact the Better Business Bureau to investigate the company If the company seems legitimate, look up the company’s phone number in a phone book (do not use contact information given to you in the email!) and call to verify Have the company send you relevant documentation to verify the offer through the mail Verify the information independently on the internet Check with authorities listed below if you have any suspicions at all What to do if you believe that you may have fallen prey to an advance fee fraud: Don’t send another dime Never travel to meet someone for any reason, especially overseas Keep all papers and emails associated with the scam Contact your bank immediately Do not assume that an official looking, certified check will be cashable, check with your bank and make sure the money is in your account and cleared Contact the US Secret Service File a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center  Contact the Federal Trade Commission Check with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
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