advance-fee fraud – persuading victimes to pay a “fee” in anticipation of receiving a larger benefit which isn’t delivered

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advance-fee fraud:

1. A criminal fraud in which the victim is persuaded by the perpetrator to pay “fees” in anticipation of receiving a much larger benefit that is ultimately never delivered.  *  The perpetrator usually claims to have, or to represent someone with, a large sum of money that must be immediately transferred out of a foreign country for some compelling reason, such as to avoid seizure by a government.  The criminal promises the victim a portion of the money in return for the victim’s agreement to open a bank account in the victim’s name.  The victim then must pay “upfront fees” to the designated “bank” and others.  Although the internet has become a favorite tool for this fraud, it has been around for years, beginning with handwritten or typed letters and later faxes.  Because advance-fee fraud is believed to have originated in Nigeria, it is also termed 419 fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code designed to punish those who defraud by this method. [1]


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6



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