Queensland's plan to end Nigerian scams

Summary:A national event aimed at stamping out so-called Nigerian scams will be held in Queensland, Detective Inspector Brian Hay, who heads up the Queensland Police Corporate Crime Investigation Group, said.

A national event aimed at stamping out so-called Nigerian scams will be held in Queensland, Detective Inspector Brian Hay, who heads up the Queensland Police Corporate Crime Investigation Group, said.

Queensland Police will host the national Nigerian Frauds Symposium in a few months, Hay said.

"It will give us a chance to brief the country on everything we have found and come up with strategies on how to best progress from there," Hay told reporters at the AusCERT security conference today.

He said his team has partnered with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is dedicated to wiping out 419 scams in Nigeria.

"Through our establishment of a relationship with the Nigerian EFCC we can pass on information and allow them to take prosecution action against the offenders in Nigeria where they are victimising Australians.

"Since [the EFCC] have been operating, which is about four years, they have arrested about 2,000 people -- 1,000 of which have been finalised -- they have secured about AU$4 billion in assets, they have made disbursements to victims around the world and what they need is information from us and Australian victims in order to do their job better," added Hay.

Nigerian 419 scammers are defrauding Queensland residents of about AU$500,000 every month, Queensland Police told the 60 Minutes program recently.

At this morning's press conference, Hay reiterated several points he made on the program, emphasising the fact that hundreds and possibly thousands of Australians have fallen victim to the Nigerian 419 scams.

In some cases the victims had been strung along for more than 10 years, expecting to receive a massive cash lump sum. In many cases, Hay said people didn't want to believe they were being scammed and chose to ignore the police.

"In some areas, 76 percent of people continue to keep sending money -- they didn't want to listen to us. They have a dream that we take and turn into a nightmare and they don't want to hear about the nightmare.

"We are saying sorry, what you have been doing for the last 10 years is wrong," said Hay.

The problem came to light when, in early 2006, a resident of central Queensland contacted Hay's fraud department.

"We had a phone call from a gentleman in central part of Queensland who was angry because he had lost about AU$280,000 -- he lost everything he possessed and finally realised it was a scam. All the money had gone to Nigeria," the officer revealed.

Topics: Security, Government, Government : AU

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Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.Munir was recognised as Austr... Full Bio

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