The Land of Fraud


I was asked to translate this article for everyone. 사기의 나라

"I love you"… `` The Land of Fraud ''

Money Today
By Lee Jae Eun

From trade scams to romance scams

We will tell various stories from all over the world in the era of globalization. We have fun with international politics and the history and culture of each country to find out what we are curious about or what we wonder about each country.

"Baby, now I want to live in Korea. I'll send a reward received while sending US troops, please send me the shipping charges."

"I'll call the hotel in advance and pay the accommodation and stay with my credit card. Please stay separately."

On February 2, the Seoul National Police Agency's International Criminal Investigation Division arrested seven people, including Nigerian A (40), for fraud, including fraud under the Specific Economic Crime Weighted Punishment Act. They have been accused of accessing Koreans through Facebook and KakaoTalk for about a year from August 2017 to June last year and intercepting about 1.4 billion won (including fraud under the Specific Economic Crime Weighted Punishment Act).

This scam is called a romance scam. Romance scam is a combination of romance and new scam types. It uses social networking services (SNS) to trick people into trusting them and asking for money in various names.

Most romance scams occur mainly in middle-aged people, using the psychology of loneliness where they want to belong, and they are rooted in an international criminal organization that is the scam network. The SCAM Network is headquartered in Nigeria, West Africa, and operates in Korea, China and Hong Kong. Nigeria is an English-speaking country and has become a major target for crime, with an increasing number of English-speaking people in Korea.

Although romance scams are new, this form of fraud is not new. Already the world is accustomed to scams in Nigeria. Terms such as Nigerian fraud or Nigerian letters and Nigeria 419 are registered in dictionaries around the world.

Nigeria Fraud (Advanced Fee Fraud, AFF) is a scam that spread in the 1990s when the Internet evolved, delivering fraudulent messages to businesses and individuals through letters, faxes, and emails in English. It's a way to get money back.

It usually contains the following information, but everyone should have received an email like this at least once. "I'm a very wealthy politician and heir, and I have to move the slush money out of the eyes of the government. But the scrutiny is overwhelming, and if we use our own hands, we're going to get caught. If you read this mail you can help us we will pay for it, we'll pay for some of our legacy. "

Trade fraud is done in a similar way. It is a way to take money in various ways after pretending to be a central bank (the Central Bank of Nigeria) or an oil development corporation (the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) executive and paying a considerable fee for managing and laundering underground or illegal funds.

In addition, a kind of 'fake order' was frequently made as a method of trade fraud. After presenting a high purchase price and initially offering a good payment method such as advance remittance, then in the middle of this, if you send a bill of lading after shipment of the goods, payment is made by telegraphic transfer. After changing the payment method, he will only steal the goods without paying the price. It was also frequently used for credit fraud (forgery of credit) or for selling samples to other markets without actual transactions after demanding large samples of goods.

As Nigeria's fraud spread indiscriminately, embassies and authorities around the country have issued a warning about 419 and have launched a massive crackdown. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) homepage also contains warnings for caution with the terms 'Nigeria Letter' and 'Nigeria 419'.

419 refers to Article 419 of the Nigerian Penal Code. Article 419 of the Penal Code of Nigeria is a penal code section that mentions fraud in Nigeria, an amendment to AFF and other fraudulent offenses that was amended and expanded on the entry into force of Presidential Decree No. 13 in April 1995. The United States named Nigeria fraud in 1992 and has since been referred to as '419 fraud' and 'Nigeria 419'.

In the late 1990s, damage cases also continued in Korea. Especially in late 1997, when the whole country was overturned by the IMF financial crisis, there was a scam of fraud. A company in a difficult economic situation hoped for a large quantity of import orders. At that time, Nigeria 419 was not well known in Korea.

In 1998, trade director KOTRA Lagos (the Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency) said that at the time, the trade office was called for confirmation of fraud two or three times a month by Koreans. Asian automakers and S-trade, which are major conglomerates, are also victims of international trade scams. In the industry, the self-proclaimed "Korea is a rod of international trade scam". Since then, the subjects of crime have expanded into economically underdeveloped West Africa countries such as Ghana, Cameroon and Benin.

So how did Nigeria become a nation of fraud? Afe Adogame, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, UK, said, "The economic, social, and political upheaval and instability in Nigeria in the late 1970s led to the emergence and strengthening of fraudulent tactics in Nigeria." In other words, following the first oil shock in 1973 and the second oil shock in 1978-1981, the Nigerian society became unstable and became an environment for fraud.

As oil prices soared after two oil shocks, countries that had previously relied heavily on Persian Gulf oil diversified their oil import destinations including Nigeria. Since then, huge oil dollars have been introduced into Nigeria. In particular, the import of goods from other countries to Nigeria surged due to the massive inflow of dollars in the late 1970s and early 1980s, just after the second oil shock. Naturally, Nigeria's authorities have also increased the need for import procedures.

The problem was that Nigeria was shortly independent of Britain in 1960, and as the military regime continued, the social system became corrupt and irrational. Excessive abuses arose in the process, and officials were guilty of bribery at all times by abusing their rights. Some believe that fraud has begun to cover the cost of bribes.

Changes in oil prices in the early 1980s also contributed to the rampant fraud in Nigeria. When oil prices fell in the early 1980s, the Nigerian economy also suffered. Many college students failed to find employment, and they started fraudulently targeting entrepreneurs who visited Nigeria at the time.

Frequent civil wars have left the value of trust far too high. The most fierce civil war in Nigeria's modern history was the 'Biafra War' between 1967 and 1970. In 1966, when a Hausa tribe, took power in a coup d'etat against the Yoruba, the Ibo rebellion broke out in the eastern part of the region, declaring independence as the Republic of Biafra. When the Soviet Union and the British supported Federal Government forces surrounded, Biafra collapsed in 1970, but these civil war residents were forced to live under threats of security forces and exposed to crimes such as murder, theft and rape.

International development cooperation expert Bae Ji-hyun said, "The fear of civil war causes the value of trust and cooperation to disappear, and we experience a serious transformation of social capital." "In spite of this, spying and fraud, rather than honesty, and the looting and violence rather than fair exchange are easily and advantageously assessed in the short term."

Currently Nigeria is a regional regional power in West Africa, and is expected to become the world's 14th largest economy by 2050. So, before 2020, did Nigeria throw away the stigma of 'the country of fraud'?

Unfortunately, the suspicious gaze towards Nigeria remains the same. It's also due to polar romance scams, but trade scams are endless. Kim Kyung-soo, a former Democratic Party member who was a member of the Committee on Trade and Industry in 2016, said, “Based on KOTRA's recent trade fraud report of our company over the last three years,” there were 100 trade frauds in Nigeria. You need to be careful. "

The problem is that these stigmas cause victims to lose goodwill. A KOTRA official said, "Most Nigerian buyers are very resentful of Nigeria's bad reputation in the global market due to the trade frauds of some unreasonably vicious Nigerian companies, which has a negative impact on their business and damages good faith. I'm complaining. "

In order to avoid being caught in Nigeria's trade fraud, they should not be deceived by unconscious temptations. "

Will Nigeria be able to grow steadily without getting rid of the stigma of 'the country of fraud'? As Nigeria shows 8-9% GDP growth every year, it's okay to expect some. Of course, this would require Nigerian authorities to work more aggressively to clear criminal organizations and distribute oil profits more evenly.