Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release - Wednesday, November 20, 2002.

Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

Attorney General's Office Statement
on "Nigeria Letter Scam"

November 20, 2002


The Attorney General's Office is advising persons who receive letters, e-mails or fax message versions of the "Nigeria Letter Scam" NOT TO REPLY at all and to DISCARD the letters or messages.

Any Iowan who has LOST money to the scam is advised to REPORT ANY LOSSES TO THE US SECRET SERVICE by calling 202-406-5850 or by writing to: US Secret Service, Financial Crimes Division, 950 H Street, Washington, DC 20001. Victims also can e-mail a complaint to the Secret Service, at 419.fed@usss.treas.gov

The US Secret Service, Commerce Department and State Department have been working for several years with the Nigerian government to investigate and prosecute individuals involved in this international scam. There are so many criminal gangs operating the scams, however, that the scheme only seems to be expanding. U.S. and international authorities are working to prevent it. They also have thousands of versions of the letter or email and do not need additional copies (nor does the Iowa Attorney General's Office.)

The "Nigeria Letter Scam" has been around at least since the 1980s, but the Attorney General's Office believes more Iowans are receiving the message than ever before, especially because e-mail is fast, free, and everywhere.

The "Nigeria letter scam" is a form of "advance-fee fraud." The letters or e-mails ask recipients for help in moving millions of dollars out of an African nation (often but not always Nigeria) in return for a big share of the money. Victims can lose tens of thousands of dollars and even be in physical danger. This is a scam, operated by criminal gangs in Nigeria and other African countries. We advise: Do not have any contact with the parties who send these letters, e-mails and faxes. Do not respond to them in any way.

For an earlier news release on this topic, go to: http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/latest_news/releases/Oct_2001/Nigeria_rel_Oct_01.htm

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