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Contact: Cam Savage
Indianapolis, IN -- Secretary of State Todd Rokita today warned Hoosiers about an e-mail and mail scam circulating widely in Indiana and across the country. The scam is known internationally as "4-1-9" fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes.
The most prevalent and successful form of the "4-1-9" scam is the fund transfer scam. In this scheme, a company or individual will receive an unsolicited letter or e-mail from a Nigerian claiming to be a senior civil servant. In the letter, the solicitor will inform the recipient that he is seeking a reputable foreign company or individual into whose account he can deposit funds ranging from $10-$60 million.
Although recent versions of this scam have frequently used the country of Nigeria, other African and European countries have been the points of origin of similar scams since at least the 1970s. E-mail is just the latest form of solicitation used in this scam. Faxes and hand-written letters have been used to solicit targets.
"As is the case with most scams, the perpetrators rely on greed. Always remember that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is," Rokita said. "You should be particularly cautious if the offer is unsolicited and comes from another country or by e-mail."
If you have received an e-mail or letter requesting assistance in transferring funds from a foreign country into the United States, it is likely that you are one of the many individuals solicited by a potential perpetrator of the "4-1-9" scam. Please forward any e-mail or letter like this to the United States Secret Service (http://www.secretservice.gov/). The US Secret Service has three field offices in Indiana:
If you have been in continuous contact with someone that may be operating this scam, cease contact immediately. Do not send the person any personal identification or account information. It is always extremely important that you research any opportunity before handing over your money or personal information. If you have already sent this information and feel that you are now at risk, there are steps you make take to protect yourself:
Any other general complaints regarding the "4-1-9" scam should be directed to the United States Secret Service Agency at one of the numbers listed above. The U.S. Secret Service advisory regarding the "4-1-9" scams can be found at http://www.secretservice.gov/criminal.shtml.