Next to Nigeria there are "419 fraud" cells in nearly every country on earth. Benin, the UK, South Africa, and Spain are heavily infested. 419er operations are on the up-tick in China (both mainland China and Hong Kong), India and in Malaysia. There are 419er cells in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Ghana, Brazil, Egypt, Russia, Pakistan, and the Czech Republic. These days, about the only place on earth without 419 cells is Antarctica – for now, anyway.
What is known about the size and scope of 419 Advance Fee Fraud is the tip of the iceberg of a still rapidly growing and insidious threat to the global economy, undermining trust and mercilessly exploiting humans for financial gain. (419 Advance Fee Fraud Statistics 2005 / 2013)
In some cases victims and/or their companies get so deep in debt to pay all the different advance fees that they are forced to file for bankruptcy or worse.
Bankruptcies, kidnappings, murders and suicides that occur during or after as results of a 419 scam are not specifically logged, only the ones brought to the attention.
Between 1996 and 2013 the 419Unit at Ultrascan-AGI recorded a total of 31 murders, 35 suicides, 49 kidnap & hostage situations and 1512 bankruptcies (again a tip of the iceberg).
Murders, kidnapping and hostage situations, concerned in most cases victims that traveled to Africa to meet their "partners".
From the 35 suicides, 2 were connected to scammers in South Africa, 3 in Nigeria and 5 to 419 scammers in Malaysia of which 2 happened during 2013.
The mostly Nigerian conmen, who entered Malaysia on student visas, take advantage of the country good Internet infrastructure to prey on lonely, middle-aged women around the world, wooing them on dating websites before swindling their savings.
One victim was a young man who lost over 160 thousand Euro in what seemed the promising future business with -the love of his life- and the second victim was a middle aged woman that advanced her soul mate more than 100 thousand Euro, supposedly hospital and legal fees he seemed to have a continuous streak of bad luck every time he was on his way to KL airport in pursuit of finally boarding a flight to meet her.
Romance and dating scams escalated to a matter of utmost concern
While murders, kidnappings and bankruptcies are trending upwards with the continued expansion of the problem in recent 3 years, I'm not aware of significantly more suicides reported. But during my conversations with stakeholders around the world we couldn't escape the notion that suicides by victims of 419 Advance Fee Fraud are surging, in particular during romance, love or dating scams!
First published in: the 419 Advance Fee Fraud Statistics 2005 / 2013