Advanced Fee Letter Fraud (419 / West African / Nigerian Letters)

inkwellThe perpetrator induces victim to give him some type of advanced fee in return for a future benefit. The future benefit never occurs and victim never receives the advanced fee back.

Throughout Canada and the United States letters concerning the “request for urgent business transaction” usually the transfer of millions of dollars, are being sent out to consumers and business’ via mail, email and fax transmission. These letters are commonly referred to as Nigerian Letter Scams or West African Fraud Letters.

The scheme begins once a consumer receives a letter. The preferred method of sending these letters is through email. The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre (CAFC) has seen an increase in email delivery. In addition to stressing the urgency and confidentiality of a transaction, these letters will also stress the importance of trust and honesty in order to make the reader believe that there is a validity to the letter. For instance, the writers of these letters will commonly claim to be a Doctor and/or a corporate entity with a major corporation of Nigeria. There will also be some mention of government involvement.

Typically, after receiving a letter a consumer would respond either by phone, fax, or email. The response would be a request for further information on the requirements and procedure for the transaction. Once contact is established, the writer of the letter will normally ask for an up-front processing fee and in some cases arrange for a meeting to discuss the transfer of funds. Most letters come with a breakdown of the percentage of money each party involved will receive once the transaction is final. For instance, many letters received at CAFC offer the following breakdown,

  1. 30% for the account holder
  2. 60% for me and my partners
  3. 10% to be used in offsetting taxes and all local & foreign expenses.

CAFC advises consumers not to open unsolicited emails. Spam usually means scam and the message may contain a virus that can damage your computer.

Here is a sample of the scam:


Copies of the letters (regardless of country origin) can be directly forwarded to CAFC via fax at (888) 654-9426 or by email at

Please contact CAFC by phone at (888) 495-8501 if contact has been made with a “Nigerian” representative.

For more information on Advanced Fee Fraud Letters please see the below links.