​​ Map displaying the location of Nigeria within Africa

Advance Fee Fraud scams originating from Nigeria and other West African countries such as Ghana have been deceiving Queenslanders out of hundreds of thousands of dollars per month for many years. Numerous examples have been recorded of Queenslanders being deceived by African fraudsters with many victims now financially destitute.

Financial scams promise the victim a large return for a small investment. Internet romance scams are very aggressive in nature and target the emotional vulnerabilities of the victim.

These are some of the Nigerians scams that Queenslanders have recently become victim to:


Reporting Offences

Map displaying the location of Ghana

As a general rule the Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) resposible for investigating these matters is determined by the location of the offender at the time of the offence.

For example;

  • If a person who resides in Nigeria defrauds someone in Queensland, the appropriate LEA in Nigeria would be responsible for investigating the matter.
  • If a person who resides in Ghana defrauds someone in Queensland, the appropriate LEA in Ghana would be responsible for investigating the matter.

If you are an Australian who has lost money anywhere to an Advance Fee Fraud Scam and wish to Report the incident please access the following link:

Online Reporting System for Advance Fee Fraud


Request to use a bank account to deposit a large sum of money

This scam requests the victim to allow them to use their bank account so a large sum of money may be deposited into. Initial contact with the victim is made by a mass produced email.

The money offered may be from a secret bank account, unexpected inheritance, overpaid Government contract or a “forgotten sum of money” left in a Nigerian bank.

In each instance, before the money is placed into the victims’ bank account, a series of fees and charges are required to be paid before the money can be released. These charges include:

  •  Taxes
  •  Levies
  •  Legal fees
  •  Payments to corrupt officials
  •  Money transfer charges
  •  Payment to insure the funds transfer.
  •  Payment for an “anti-terrorist certificate” to verify the victim is not a terrorist.
Despite the victim making numerous payments to individuals in different countries, there are always delays which prevent the money being sent and require a further payment to be made.

A key ingredient of this scam is the victim is required to keep the money transfer secret.

This scam has been in existence in excess of 50 years and no person has ever received the money promised despite hundreds of thousands of individuals’ worldwide taking up the Nigerians offer. View examples of documents used by the fraudsters to convince victims they are genuine.

Victims have historically been very reluctant to report their being defrauded in this manner to the Police as the ingredients of their actions constitute the offence of money laundering.

Business Opportunity

A business may receive a request from a Nigerian person posing as a public official offering the opportunity to become involved in a large commercial operation being undertaken in Nigeria. The most common example involves projects in the Nigerian oil industry although other examples have been identified in the telecommunications industry.

The offer will involve very large financial returns and will require the victim to finance a portion of the Nigerian contract. (View example Contract documents).

All payments will be required to be forwarded via money transfer agencies such as Western Union in amounts between $5,000.00 and $10,000.00. Examples of the requests for money include:

  •  Pay for the business project.
  •  Pay legal fees.
  •  Pay project fees.
  •  Pay company registration costs.
  •  Pay corruption fees.
  •  Pay taxes.
  •  Pay money transfer fees.
  •  Payment for an “anti-terrorist certificate” to verify the victim is not a terrorist.
  •  Pay to insure the funds transfer.
In each instance, the money will be required to be sent to numerous individuals in different countries such as Benin, Togo, Cote d’Ivore (Ivory Coast), United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. View examples of documents used by the fraudsters to convince victims they are genuine.

The Nigerian High Commission in Canberra has strongly recommended any person considering undertaking a business opportunity in their country to contact themselves for advice on how to safely conduct business in Nigeria.

Online relationship

This scam targets victims, who are met through internet dating sites, chat rooms or Instant Messenger services.

The fraudster may present one of a variety of scenarios including:

Australian citizen in Nigerian hospital

A common scenario begins with the victim chatting online with an Australian citizen living in Nigeria. Communication suddenly stops until contact is made by a “Nigerian doctor” saying their friend has been in a car crash and needs money to pay for urgent surgery. The victim wishing to help their friend commences sending money to Nigeria via a money transfer facility such as Western Union and as each sum of money is forwarded, a further request for more funds is made.

Internet Romance

With the internet dating scam, the fraudster represents they wish to travel to Australia however needs help to pay for airfares, visa charges or a passport. Once these costs have been paid, the fraudster requests more money to pay for their local taxes, family hospital bills and other costs.

In each instance, the fraudster represents they have missed their flight to Australia and requests more money to be sent to Nigeria to pay for further airfares. The fraudster continues this scam until the victim runs out of money or refuses to send any more to Nigeria.

Fraudulent cheque/ credit card scam

This scam targets small business owners and persons who have been caught in the internet dating scam.

In this example, the fraudster requests goods be sent to him in Nigeria and sends a bank cheque to pay for the goods. The cheque is usually from a foreign bank and is for an amount in excess of the value of the goods and freight forwarding charges.

The victim also pays for all the freight forwarding charges and sends the balance of the funds to the fraudster using a money transfer system such as Western Union.

When the cheque is deposited into the victims’ bank account in Australia, depending on the quality of the forgery, it may initially clear. This provides the victim with the assurance the cheque is of good value as represented and they purchase the goods and sends them to Nigeria. Several weeks later, the cheque is identified as being fraudulent and the victim ends up bearing the cost of the whole transaction.

The credit card scam involves the fraudsters contacting Australian businesses and requesting the purchase of goods or services. The orders often are significantly higher than that the business would usually receive and appears to be a financial windfall for the business owner. Accommodation providers are regularly asked to provide quotes for Nigerian representatives seeking to attend Queensland for businesses reasons and wishing to book accommodation and conference facilities.

Once the quote is provided, the fraudster provides a series of credit cards for the payment to be made from. If a card is not active, then alternative credit card numbers are supplied.

Once the payment has been made, the fraudster cancels the accommodation and conference and requests the funds be refunded via a money transfer service such as Western Union.

Once the business has refunded the money, they may be notified by the credit card company the transactions were fraudulent and the business must refund the money.

Charity Scam

The charity scam differs to the other Nigerian scam as victims are not seeking anything in return.

The fraudsters seek victims amongst Church related web sites and chat rooms seeking persons to make regular donations to themselves to run a specific charity. The fraudster represents themselves to be a “Reverend” or “Pastor” who operates an orphanage or Church and is desperately seeking funds. There are no means provided to identify whether the charity actually exists or whether the person seeking the funds is who they represent themselves to be.

Example Documents

Examples of documents used by the fraudsters to convince victims they are genuine.

 

​Examples of Contract documents used by the fraudsters.