[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Warning over African letter scam
Police said losses rang from a few pounds to thousands
Tayside Police are warning people to be on their guard after a 67-year-old man was conned out of thousands of pounds in an elaborate African letter scam.

The man, from Forgandenny, Perthshire, received a letter from a man pretending to be from Zimbabwe saying he needed help "unlocking" funds in his country.

The letter stated that his family had suffered under President Mugabe and his mother was unwell.

After an exchange of e-mails, the pensioner parted with 4,000 in cash.

It was only when he arranged to meet a "diplomat" in London and the location of the meeting was changed, that he became suspicious and alerted the police.

If a victim cannot pay or refuses to pay they are worked on with series of faxes and phone calls
Tayside Police spokesperson

A spokesperson for Tayside Police said: "Advance fee fraud is a popular crime, particularly with the African criminal networks.

"There are a myriad of schemes and scams - mail, faxed and telephone promises - designed to facilitate victims parting with money.

"All involve requests to help move large sums of money with the promise of a substantial share of the cash in return."

She said individual monetary losses ranged from the low thousands, like the Perthshire pensioner, into multi-millions.

"If a victim cannot pay or refuses to pay they are worked on with series of faxes and phone calls.

"Victim, some of whom cannot afford to pay any more, at this stage, often borrow large sums from family, friends and by way of loans."

She added: "We would advise people who receive a letter, fax or e-mail like this to delete it or throw it in the bin where it deserves to be."

Police warn against letter scam
26 Jul 05 |  Guernsey
Letter scam targets small firms
20 Oct 04 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific