Financial Fraud Warning
The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has received many questions about the legitimacy of certain solicitations received by post or email.
These letters or emails hold out the promise of large sums of money in exchange for payment of advance fees, transaction costs, customs duties, etc. In some cases, the recipient is informed that he has won a lottery. The letters and emails also state that the financial or other transactions have been initiated by companies registered in the Netherlands or other European countries.
The embassy wishes to make it absolutely clear that, in all probability, such requests are fraudulent and are related to a well-known financial swindle which first appeared in West Africa in the 1980's. The swindle is now so widespread that national and international law enforcement authorities refer to it as "Nigerian bank fraud", "Nigerian advance fee fraud" and "419 fraud". Suggestions that a lottery has been won fall into a separate category although the method of operation is comparable and the fraud is perpetrated by the same swindlers.
Several features the schemes share are listed below:
- Sum of money (or a product), or lawful or unlawful origin, from a lottery, an investment plan, oil, a bequest, real estate, a bankrupcy, etc.,will be made available upon request of an advance payment of fees associated with the release of the money (or product);
- To initiate the transaction, the recipient must contact an official of the company registered in the Netherlands (or in another European country);
- The official must be contacted at a mobile telephone number; in the Netherlands the number always begins with 00 31 6
- Attempts to verify the company name and addresss in a business directory or with the local Chamber of Commerce all fail;
- An invitation to travel to the Netherlands is generally extended in order to complete the transaction and pay the advance fee.
- The contact number stated in the email starts with the number (+31)6 or 06, which is a mobile phone number
If you are still uncertain about the solicitation after having read this information, you may contact the Embassy at: (+47) 23 33 36 33.
If you have been the victim of these fraudulent practices, please file a police report at your local police station. Besides that you can notify the KLPD in Zoetermeer (in the Netherlands) by sending an email to email@example.com. Please make clear in your email who you are and what has happened. The KLPD receives so many reports of this nature that in many cases they do not send confirmation of receipt. If you do wish to receive a confirmation, please ask for this in your email. You can also call the KLPD at (+31) 79 345 89 02, if you have any further questions.
Because of the methods used by these swindlers (internet, mobile telephone numbers, fake addresses and names, bank accounts which only exist for a matter of days), in most cases it is extremely difficult to track down the perpetrators or recover the victims' money.