Advanced Fee Fraud is a confidence trick that offers a large reward for a small investment of money. The reward can be cash, a contract, investment, gift or some other benefit which is of greater value than the money you are being asked to give.
It is usually explained that the money is needed in order to acquire the greater benefit, which will be shared with all those who have contributed the initial advance. Often requests for money will escalate when the first money has been paid, with more being required to secure the greater value cash benefit, service or article.
The original contact will often be made by email or a message through social media. The original source will be hidden so it is impossible or at least very difficult to trace it back to the original source.
The most common channels used by these criminals are
- Web based emails where no valid identification is needed to set them up
- Email hijacking, where the email appears to be from someone known to you
- SMS message
If you are ever invited to join a scheme where money is required ahead of the benefit to be gained, think carefully about the legitimacy of it. Check where it has come from; are they a legitimate company, do you know the person who is contacting you, can anyone vouch for them. Does the source of the contact look genuine.
But remember, if something looks too good to be true it usually is. Very rarely will we gain something for nothing, or take out more than we put in.
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