Confidence swindle persists

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Since 1996, JAVMA readers have been periodically cautioned that veterinarians were among the businesspeople in the United States being solicited in fraudulent letters from Nigeria. Some AVMA members are still receiving such letters.

The letter writer, often claiming to be a Nigerian government official, asks for assistance in processing a large amount of "surplus" money that lies in an overlooked Nigerian bank account. To be accessed, the money must first be transferred to a foreign bank account, he claims. Recipients are offered several million dollars for use of their bank accounts and for traveling to Nigeria with a substantial amount of cash to complete the deal.

The Nigerian government has taken out ads in major newspapers denouncing this fraud and warning consumers not to take the bait. Recently the US Secret Service has deployed officers to Nigeria to help stop the scam at its source.

Veterinarians wishing to file complaints may write to the US Postal Inspection Service, Fraud, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3141, Washington, DC 20260-2166, or you can locate the nearest postal inspector via the Web at

For additional information about this scam, contact the Nigerian desk officer at the US Department of Commerce, (202) 482-5149.