Understanding Fraud and Ways to Recognise it!


Fraud is defined as dishonest activity causing actual or potential financial loss to any person or entity, including theft of money or other property, by employees or persons external to the entity; and where deception is used at the time, immediately before or immediately following the activity.

Our focus is on special fraud, which we determine using an indicative criteria:

  • There are multiple victims (usually investors) of the suspected fraud
  • The sum of money lost exceeds N2,000,000
  • The alleged criminal transactions have significant legal or financial complexity beyond the resources of most other law enforcement agencies.
  • In the case of bribery or corruption matters, we focus on crimes involving public officials, which could undermine public confidence in the administration of laws.

Special Fraud is distinct from other dishonesty offences that will ordinarily be a Police matter to investigate. As a small, specialised unit of the FCID, we focus on cases that are small in number, but large in terms of the scale of the alleged fraud and/or impact they have on public confidence in the administration of the law, or, the integrity of the business sector


Advance fee schemes – letters or emails that offer you vast sums if you make payments up front

Share scams (also known as boiler rooms) – a stranger rings you out of the blue and tries to offer you shares in a company you have never heard of

Affinity fraud – investment scams that target members of a group, such as a community or a religious, ethnic, elderly or professional group

Fund transfer schemes – money-laundering scams that tempt you to use your bank account by offering a commission. But you could wind up with a prison sentence too

Online fraud (phishing) – fake bank websites that criminals use to try and get your personal details and money

  • BE AWARE! Protect Yourself

    If anyone contacts you claiming to be from the PSFU please be aware that we will only ever communicate with you:

    • by telephone – for security reasons our number is withheld
    • in writing – on official, headed paper
    • by email – from someone with ‘’ as part of their email address)
    • by fax (on official headedpaper).

    If you receive a communication that purports to be from us, but which you find suspicious, please forward it to:

    We will check the authenticity of the correspondence and get back to you within two working days.

    If you are concerned about the authenticity of a phone call, confirm the name of the caller and tell them that you will call them back.  To do this please dial our hotlines on 08025572555 and ask to be put through to the named individual. We will then be able to confirm whether the name you have is an PSFU employee.

about3Sometimes the way people behave might suggest that they are committing a fraud. These signs are called ‘red flags’. Although by themselves they may not be any cause for concern, a few of these together might be enough to alert you that something isn’t quite right..

  • Significant changes in behaviour that you’ve noticed
  • They have large personal debts or financial losses, and a desire for personal gain
  • Audit findings deemed to be errors or irregularities
  • Transactions taking place that were at an odd time, odd frequency, unusual amount or to odd recipients
  • Internal controls that are not enforced, or often compromised by higher authorities
  • Discrepancies in accounting records and unexplained items on reconciliations
  • Missing documents, or only photocopied documents available
  • Inconsistent, vague or implausible responses arising from inquiries
  • Unusual discrepancies between the client’s records and confirmation replies
  • Missing inventory or physical assets
  • Excessive voids or credits
  • Common names or addresses of payees or customers
  • Alterations on documents (e.g. back dating)
  • Duplications (e.g. duplicate payments)
  • Collusion among employees, where there is little or no supervision
  • One employee has control of a process from start to finish with no segregation of duties