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Aussies lose $7m to Nigerian scammers

Posted by By Cameron Atfield on 2006/02/02 | Views: 501 |

Aussies lose $7m to Nigerian scammers

AUSTRALIANS have lost more than $7 million in the notorious Nigerian investment scam - and police fear that is just the tip of the iceberg.

AUSTRALIANS have lost more than $7 million in the notorious Nigerian investment scam - and police fear that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Queensland police fraud inspector Brian Hay said police had analysed financial transactions to Nigeria for a two-month period and contacted about 60 per cent of the people involved.

Of those, 25 out of 26 were victims of the internet-based scam and only one had conducted legitimate business with Nigerian contacts.

"We were just completely blown away," Insp Hay said.

"We're talking about financial planners, accountants, people that perhaps should know better."

Insp Hay said victims, who had received spam e-mails from the fraudsters, were sucked into the scheme by promises of up to $40 million for the temporary use of their bank accounts.

They were then asked to send money to bribe local officials and secure lucrative contracts.

He said one person alone had sent $2.2 million over five years to the fraudsters, and several others had lost more than $1 million.

Insp Hay said some of the people they had contacted continued to send money to the scammers despite direct police warnings. "It gets to a point that they have invested so much time, effort and money . . . that they can't believe that it's not true," he said.

Insp Hay said those behind the scam were unlikely ever to face justice.

"Realistically, would the Nigerian Government be prepared to prosecute and bring witnesses from Australia who are victims? It hasn't happened yet to my knowledge," he said.

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