NCIS issues fraud alert warning
By: Special Agent Gerry Tirocchi 03/08/2007
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The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is warning military and civilian personnel assigned to the Naval Submarine Base New London and tenant commands about a worldwide scam that continues to target unsuspecting individuals via e-mail.
The scam is referred to as the "419 Nigerian Advance Fee" fraud and originated in the 1980s under the successive governments in Nigeria.
Nearly 10 naval members, dependents and civilian employees aboard SUBASE have responded to e-mails received on their home computers.
These emails request assistance in negotiating traveler's checks, money orders, personal checks, cashier's checks and bank checks at financial institutions on base and in Groton.
Although there are various versions of this scheme, the overall recently reported theme consists of a member being contacted via e-mail and subsequently provide their mailing address to the con artist.
Several days later, a UPS envelope containing several checks arrives at the member's address. The recipients are instructed to cash the checks at various area banks and that a percentage of the proceeds should be kept by the member and the remaining funds should be transferred by Western Union to the suspect. Of course the checks all turn out to be fraudulent.
Most banks and credit unions are very aware of this scheme and are extremely knowledgeable in detecting fraudulent checks or money orders. In all cases, SUBASE Security and NCIS are notified immediately by the financial institutions.
Knowingly attempting to cash a bad check or money order is a felony and the penalties are serious. Likewise, providing confidential bank account information or other personal data is dangerous. Persons doing so risk losing all of their money and/or making themselves targets of identity theft, which can take years to correct.
Therefore, it is strongly advised that persons receiving these e-mails should immediately delete them and not respond in any fashion. Suspicions of fraudulent activities effecting the Department of the Navy should be reported to NCIS New London at 694-4681.