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Handle a fraudulent business proposal?


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Know what do I do if I receive a fraudulent business proposal?

February 23, 2004 - Thousands of individuals across the country have been receiving letters, faxes, and phone calls from individuals in Nigeria proposing lucrative business deals and transactions. Typically, the letters allege that the writer is employed with a bank, or the Nigerian government, such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs or Energy. The letter then requests assistance in a scheme to obtain millions from Nigerian accounts that require a foreign bank to receive the funds and request the "highest degree of confidentiality." Finally, the letter promises a substantial cash fee to the victim for assistance and use of the bank account.

Any response to these letters is usually followed by more urgent solicitations and/or requests for personal meetings in Nigeria, Africa or Europe. Ultimately the Nigerian scammers are able to drain funds from the victim’s bank account.

As a result of these fraudulent activities, many Americans have lost sums ranging from a few thousand to upwards of several million dollars. Many of these scam artists are very sophisticated and can provide seemingly genuine orders on official-looking stationery. The best rule to follow is that any unsolicited business proposal originating from individuals in Nigeria should be carefully examined before any funds are committed, or any goods or services, or bank information are provided, or any travel undertaken.

Reporting a Fraudulent Business Proposal

In the United States contact:

U.S. Secret Service
Financial Crimes Division
1800 G Street, NW
Room 942
Washington, DC 20223 Phone: (202) 435-5850
Fax: (202) 435-5031

Or contact the local U.S. Secret Service Field Office.

Overseas, contact the Foreign Service (FSC) at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If there is no FCS office, contact the American Citizens Service Unit of the Consular Section or the Regional Security Office.

Determining the Legitimacy of a Business Proposal

For help in determining the legitimacy of a business proposal, contact:

U.S. Department of Commerce
Office of Africa, Room 2037
Nigerian Desk Officer
Washington, DC 20230 Phone: (202) 482-5149
Fax: (202) 482-5198

To Obtain marketing Information on Nigeria and other countries:

All reports on the National Trade Data Bank can be accessed by CD-ROM disks in libraries or by subscribing for internet access. For more information, call 1-800-STAT-USA.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.