Money for Nothing?

Advance-fee scams have been around for years, but despite warnings from the U.S. Secret Service and other agencies, the scams continue to attract new victims. If you have received a fax, email or letter promising to give you “free money”, you may have been a target of one or more versions of this scam. One of the most prolific forms of the advance-fee scam is the “Nigerian Scheme”. In this scam someone claiming to be a foreign official sends unsolicited correspondence offering to transfer a large sum of money to your bank account and pay you a healthy commission. The subject matter of the scam is varied but can include over invoiced contract funds, real estate ventures, money from an estate, currency conversion, discount crude oil, etc. The legitimacy of the con is promoted by the perpetrator?s use of official titles, authentic looking documents, and offer to meet personally to finalize the transaction. Eventually you are pressured to pay “advance-fees” or up-front money, supposedly to cover taxes, attorney?s fee, transaction fees, bribes or other expenses. Although these scams may seem obviously too good to be true or ridiculous to most, unfortunately it is estimated that such scams gross hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Some victims do not report their losses to authorities due to fear or embarrassment. If you have lost money to one of these schemes, send copies of your documentation to the U.S. Secret Service, Financial Crimes Division 950 H Street, NW, Washington D. C., 20001, phone (202) 486-5850, email If you have received correspondence but have not lost any monies please fax a copy to the U. S. Secret Service at (202) 406-5031.