Advance fee fraud involves the specific targeting of victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods or services, usually with the promise of substantial financial gain.

With this type of fraud, the promised goods, services and/or financial gain then does not happen. One of the most common ways of committing this fraud is the ‘419 scam’. This is so-called as it is the number of the criminal code in Nigeria dealing with this type of scam. A letter, fax or email is sent out, detailing elaborate reasons why the victims’ assistance is required to get cash out of the country, and they will be asked to give their bank details and an upfront fee in return for a large amount of money that will be paid into their bank account. The funds, of course, are never transferred.

An advance fee scam is not limited to one specific action but can come in multiple forms. These can include but are not limited to the following;

  • Ticket Scams

  • Work from Home or Business Opportunity Scams

  • Loan Scams
  • Lottery Prize Draw Scams
  • Career Opportunity Scams

  • Impersonation of Officials
  • Online Dating Scams
  • Rental Fraud
  • Fraud Recovery Fraud
  • Inheritance Fraud
  • 419 Emails and Letters
  • Racing Tip Scams
  • Vehicle Matching Fraud

In essence, anything that is paid for upfront and never materialises is an advanced fee scam. There are many more types of advance fee scams, and we have shared just a few common examples to be aware of.