Cavalry Greetings: The Geography of Advance Fee Fraud

Erik Jòhann Boklund

Studenteropgave: Speciale


The Advance Fee Fraud e-mail scam is a form of fraud that has increasingly become a problem since the turn if the Millennium. Evolved from an old confidence trick, ‘The Spanish Prisoner’, Advance Fee Fraud is commonly perceived as phenomenon mainly of West Africa, and particularly Nigerian, origin, because of a huge number of fraudulent e-mails sent from this region to the rest of the world. The thesis examines the geography of Advance Free Fraud through tracing IP addresses of e-mails received by scammers. It is shown how this data approached with sensitivity to scale and privilege reveals an alter-native geography of Advance Fee Fraud, that tells is of a West African hot spot but not with Nigeria as the epicenter, contrary to popular perception of the phenomenon. The empiric study shows that there are at least four of Nigeria’s neighboring countries with a higher relative risk of ‘hosting’ Advance Fee Fraud e-mails. Borrowing from statistical method used in epidemiology and biostatistics, as well as a sample of more 2,246 e-mails and traceable IP addresses collected from scam e-mails, the Relative Risk of a mail received from a given country is calculated, visualized and mapped. These results offer a slightly alternative geogra-phy of AFF, both on a global and regional level. Problems and challenges with IP tracing are discussed, and it is shown how it is becoming increasingly more difficult to get a reliable Based on the writings of Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak and Derek Gregory, the results are discussed in the context of postcolonial narratives and geographical imaginations, as well as the findings of those academic researchers that have studied the phenomenon. and how these social constructions and narratives influ-ences the public perception of the geography of Advance Fee Fraud. It is concluded that, while my empiric study shows no discrepancy between my results and the claim that West Africa is a scam hot spot, the claims that Nigeria is ‘Scam Central’ can be disputed. The general per-ception of the Advance Fee Fraud and who the perpetrators are, is influenced by social narratives on many levels, and further study into the geography of Advance Fee Fraud are therefore necessary. After reflecting on the challenges encountered in the empiric study as a consequence of the increasing demand for general anonymity on the internet has presented new challenges in researching the geography of Advance Fee Fraud, it is recommended that techniques borrowed from the scambaiting community can be employed in order to get more precise data.

UddannelserGeografi, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato29 jun. 2015
VejledereThomas Theis Nielsen


  • west africa
  • nigeria
  • geography
  • advance fee fraud
  • poscolonialism
  • 419 scam