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Scams of the ‘advance-fee fraud’ type intensify during 2009

Ultrascan the Dutch investigation company reveals in its recently released "419 Advance Fee Fraud Statistics 2009" report that advance-fee frauds or AFFs continue to dupe Internet users across the globe.

AFFs are also called '419 scams' the name as derived from a statute of Nigerian criminal code. Nigeria was so rife with scams that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of the country augmented efforts for law enforcement over the recent years in taking strong action against Internet scammers.

Meanwhile, according to the report, scammers carry out these frauds via a combination of different communication means. These are e-mails, social and commercial-networking websites, match-making websites, dating websites and gaming sites amongst others.

Underscoring these scams' malicious nature, Frank Engelsman, advance-free frauds specialist at Ultrascan stated that victimized computer users lost no less than US$9.3bn during 2009 that was higher than $6.3bn during 2008. PCWorld reported this during the end-week of January 2010.

The Ultrascan specialist added that the company was aware of a number of victims who had handed out a lot of money to the fraudsters. This sometimes even made the victims have their homes repossessed or risk a bank taking it over.

Indeed, Engelsman described 2009 as the most harmed year so far.

Alongside these discoveries, Ultrascan further reports that most perpetrators continue to be Nigerians, who acquire the association of local partners for assistance in dispatching fraudulent, phishing e-mails. Victims are falsely promised that they would get a reward if they follow the scammers' advice, which often involves handing out some money.

Believably, scams originated from nations other than Nigeria as well during 2009. Moreover, scammers are no longer attacking only English-speaking countries. As they acquire a broader reach, the numbers of victims escalate. With people in emerging economies acquiring computers along with a broadband connection, they get exposed to similar types of scams that created problems in other countries some ten years back.

Consequently, Vietnam, South Korea, China and India are being targeted immensely. Says Ultrascan, the three countries most affected with AFF losses during 2009 were China at $936m, the U.S at $2.1bn and the U.K at $1.2bn.

Related article: Scansafe Claims that malware Grew by 35% in April

» SPAMfighter News - 2/13/2010

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