Warning: New Twist to Nigerian Fraud Scheme

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Immediate Release

The perpetrators of Advance Fee Fraud schemes are often very creative and innovative. This scheme is commonly known as "4-1-9" fraud, in reference to the section of the Nigerian penal code that addresses this type of activity. Nigerian nationals, purporting to be officials of their government or banking institutions, will fax or mail letters to individuals and businesses in the United States and other countries.FinCEN has recently become aware that the perpetrators are trying to provide legitimacy to the scheme by sending a letter on imitation U.S. Government letterhead with the forged signature of FinCEN’s Director, James F. Sloan. In addition, this letter indicates that pursuant to the USA PATRIOT Act and an Executive Order, any money being wired into the country requires a fee to be paid, which would be applied to rebuilding the World Trade Center. The information contained in this letter is false and the letter is fraudulent. FinCEN has never issued such a letter, there is no such fee required under federal law and Director Sloan’s signature was falsified.If a financial institution has received an Advance Fee Fraud letter, but no action has been taken and no loss has occurred, the letter should be forwarded to the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) using one of the following methods:1) email to 419.fcd@usss.treas.gov;2) fax to (202) 406-5031; or3) mail to: United States Secret Service Financial Crimes Division ATTN: 419 950 H Street, NW, Suite 5300 Washington, D.C., 20223.If the financial institution has been victimized by one of these schemes, all written documentation should be forwarded to the mailing address listed in item (3) above or telephone USSS at (202) 406-5850. To learn more about Advance Fee Fraud schemes, you may also visit the U.S. Secret Service website located athttp://www.secretservice.gov/index.shtml9/20/02