29 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — A suspected Nigerian swindling gang is active in the Netherlands again with a new fake lottery trick.
The gang sends a letter to people informing them they have a large prize in a Spanish lottery, but the “winners” are told they must first pay a gambling tax before receiving their “funds”. The victim never receives the prize money.
The Spanish embassy in The Hague has said it receives daily phone calls from people who have received a letter from Madrid. Several of them have already paid, a spokesman said.
The embassy assumes that a Nigerian gang is behind the scam, due to the method involved. A group of Nigerians were arrested in Madrid last year for a similar scheme, promising to pay out large sums of money for a small fee.
Amsterdam police also arrested in 2002 a Nigerian gang that swindled investments from wealthy Dutch nationals. The swindlers disappeared once they received the invested cash, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Monday.
Consumer watchdog Consumentenbond also receives regular reports about fraudulent schemes and a spokesman said the swindlers seek out countries where they can best operate.
“There is no supervisory authority in the Netherlands that can tackle this sort of fraud,” he said.
The watchdog urged for the creation of a European-wide supervisory authority with sufficient powers to take action where necessary.
Fraudulent lottery schemes similar to the latest version also operate via email. The Nigerian government has posted warnings on its embassy websites and it outlines the various measures that are being taken against the scam gangs.
Nevertheless, it advises people to not respond to any fraudulent or suspicious advance fee scheme and report the matter to police or Nigerian authorities.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news