Monday, November 20, 2006

Nigerian Scams Costing UK Billions

The Chatham House group has issued a report today, that states that financial crime in the UK stemming from Nigeria involves "billions of pounds".

However, not nearly enough is being done to stop it.

The commonly termed "Nigerian Scams" (419 scams) involve internet scams, credit card fraud and money laundering. All of these, according to Chatham House, are going unchecked by governments in both countries.

The scam usually involves an email/fax offering the naive and gullible a highly attractive but fake financial deal, the scammer then steals money and personal information from the gullible victim.

These scams are costing the UK economy £150m a year, with the average victim losing £31K.


"Criminal activity is carried out by a small minority of Nigerians, relative to the size of the country and the number of nationals resident in Britain or visiting it.

But the numbers of people involved are still significant and their successes reflect wider political and logistical shortcomings with the way the British authorities deal with financial crime

The costs "have almost certainly run into billions of pounds over the past 10 years".

Report author Michael Peel said:

"The scale and scope of Nigeria-related financial crime highlights critical wider failures in the way the British authorities tackle fraud, corruption and money laundering.

Despite important, but limited reforms, criminal networks and corporate bribery still flourish.

This raises questions about how sincere the governments in both countries are in their talk of change, particularly when significant political, commercial or energy interests are at stake

The report urges law enforcement agencies and the Financial Services Authority to build better links with counterparts in Nigeria, to cooperate in fraud and corruption cases.

As ever, it is also down to the individual to remain forever vigilant.

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