NIGERIA - RELATED FINANCIAL CRIME AND ITS LINKS WITH BRITAIN - CHATHAM HOUSE
Ultrascan, a Netherlands-based consultancy, is one of a small number of organizations that has tried to estimate the number and value of advance fee fraud scams worldwide. In an analysis of dozens of mostly rich countries, it concluded that the total losses to British companies and individuals in 2005 were $520 million, second only to the US at $720 million. It further estimated that 20 scam rings comprising, on average, dozens of members were active in the UK. The survey does not show the ‘complete advance fee fraud situation’: in most cases, its estimates are ‘low’ or ‘extremely low’
Some people argue that foreign countries, including Britain, should make a much bigger effortto gather intelligence on advance fee frauds, as well as other types of Nigeria-related crime. AsUltrascan, the Dutch consultancy, puts it, ‘everyone has a piece of the picture, but no-one has the full picture’.
The 419 Coalition, an anti-scam body, says countries should have a centralized, single place for submission of reports by those targeted by scams.
One Nigerian law enforcement officer warns that it is potentially catastrophic for Britain and other rich nations to ignore these frauds. They are the crude surface manifestation of criminal networks that flourish precisely because people dismiss them as not worthy of serious attention. ‘That was the mistake we made earlier,’ he says. ‘If there is no shift in this position,this problem will become something huge....