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Advance Fee or “419 Fraud”

This involves unsolicited letters and e-mail messages offering the recipient a generous reward for helping to move a staggeringly large balance of funds, usually in US Dollars. These funds are said to be anything from corporate profits / accumulated bribes / unspent government funds to unclaimed funds belonging to a deceased person.

The fraudsters are after banking details. The transactions typically require the recipient of the letter or e-mail message to pay a fee/tax/bribe to complete the deal – this is the Advance Fee. Such fees will be lost.

A recent development is to convince the recipient that the funds are ready to be moved by asking them to log on to a fake bank website and view a specific account which shows a credit balance of tens of millions of dollars. These funds do not exist.

It is also common for recipients’ details to be used to perpetrate other types of fraud.

Lottery Fraud

This involves letters or email messages claiming that the recipient has won a prize in a lottery. To obtain the funds the recipient has to respond to the letter or e-mail message. A request will then be made for the recipient to provide his/her bank account details to allow for funds to be transferred. The recipient may also be asked to pay a handling/processing fee. This fee, if paid, will be lost. Also, any details given will probably be used to perpetrate other frauds.

Virus hoax emails

Many e-mailed warnings about viruses are hoaxes, designed purely to cause concern and disrupt businesses.

Such warnings may be genuine, so don't take them lightly, but always check the story out by visiting an anti-virus site such as McAfee®, Sophos or Symantec before taking any action, including forwarding these messages to friends and colleagues.