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Money Laundering Scams In SA

Since the 1980’s the money laundering schemes known as ‘419 Fraud’ have been increasing in volume and strength. Named after the section of the Criminal Code of Nigeria known as the “419 AFF” (419 Advance Fee Fraud), billions of dollars have been illegally transacted from mostly every day individuals who accepted an illicit offering. While the main focus of activities began in Nigerian West Africa, the perpetrators have expanded their interests to attacks into South Africa as well as on a multi and transnational realm.

There are a number of methods that the scammers use to contact individuals. What started out as an unsolicited printed letter sent in the mail has catapulted to emails and fax. The contents of the communique can include any of the variations which usually include an offering to the individual to make some sort of investment with the promise of increased profits. In some cases, the contact may appear as a legitimate business proposal regarding double invoices or over invoicing in regards to oil or other supplies with an offering to get the overage out of the country.

Additional scams have included personal contact of money that has been left to the individual in a will, fake lotteries, requests for advance money orders or cashier’s checks for secret shoppers or romance, the requirement of an investment for ordering commodities or items off of the standard auction or trading sites. The list of variations is only limited by the imagination of the scammer. Once accepted by an individual, the criminals will request a fee of some sort, often under the guise of a Performance Bond, Transfer Tax, etc. This is typically followed up with requirements of additional money due to difficulties or problems and the resulting situation that occurs for the consumer who has participated is there is no products, services or goods supplied and they are left with no effective recourse of action.

money laundering
Norton, one of the world’s largest security software companies reported, “South Africa is a major victim of the cybercrime assault. Phishing attacks are on the increase. South Africa is reportedly amongst the highest targeted countries in the world for phishing attacks. Although astonishing to some, 419 scams remain lucrative for online fraudsters. People are duped daily into believing that they have won lotteries they did not enter, that they have inherited millions from relatives overseas they have never heard of or that complete strangers are prepared to share a pot of gold with them for no apparent reason.

The law has struggled to control the scourge. The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act outlaws all of these activities but detection is almost unheard of and prosecutions are rare. In February the government announced that cabinet had approved a cybersecurity policy framework for South Africa. The policy originated as a request by government for public comment. The introductory note to the request stated that current law and legal structures are inadequate to deal with the increasing threat of online criminal threat.”

Sharon Knowles, CEO of DaVinci Forensics says:
“DaVinci Forensics has been following the 419 scams throughout its history, working with companies to educate and inform their staff and families on this form of consumer crime. The criminals prey on unsuspecting individuals that are often in financial straits, with enticing and alluring proposals that simulate real situations. The goal of DaVinci Forensics is to assist and educate people so that they are not taken advantage of.”

*** Sources***
Rica.net
Norton Rose Fulbright