Scam alert 

How to protect yourself

This is to alert UNOPS staff members and the wider public of the risks of being targeted by operators of international scam schemes commonly known as "4-1-9" advanced fee scams (*).

While there are many versions of this general scheme, scammers target organizations, including UNOPS in several ways. Note that these examples are not exhaustive.

1. By purporting to offer you a highly paid job with UNOPS where a request is made to pay a fee when applying for the post and for "induction and visa processing" or "to pay for travel" once the person is notified of being selected for the post.

UNOPS NEVER requires anyone to pay any fee either when applying for any advertised position or after being selected for the post.

2. In order to secure a purchase order or a consultant or expert contract with UNOPS, you are requested to pay a fee to an outside party.

UNOPS does NOT charge a fee at any stage of its procurement process (supplier registration, bids submission or other fee), or for recruiting a consultant or an expert.

3. A party promises that you will receive funding from UNOPS for your project or it ensures that UNOPS will undertake your project – asking you for your personal details. Once you reply, you are requested to pay a fee.

UNOPS does NOT charge a fee at any stage of a project.

4. An e-mail is sent promising you a percentage of a very large amount of money for the use of your bank account. Such emails often use the name of former or current senior officials of UNOPS or their relatives as senders. Once you respond, a request for money is made to help pay 'officials' in the release of the money to your account.

5. Consultants, allegedly appointed by UNOPS, indicate that you have been recommended to receive a sizeable grant in order to set up a small-scale business at your location and to employ some people, with public funds supposedly set aside for this purpose. The consultants request you to provide your name and address together with your preferred bank in the country of your choice for them to open an account in your name and transfer the funds.

UNOPS does NOT engage in this type of activity.

In various locations around the world, UNOPS staff members and the public have recently received such “invitations” from operators purporting to be working for UNOPS.

Financial loss and identity theft can result from providing personal details or the transfer of money to those issuing such correspondence. UNOPS is not responsible for any such loss or theft.

You should further be aware that these types of scam are very difficult to investigate and there is little or no chance of you getting your money back or finding the individuals concerned. The best ways to deal with these crimes are PREVENTION and PROTECTION.

What to do?

Do not reply or release any of your personal details to these individuals under any circumstances.

To protect against any loss via these scam schemes, the Internal Audit and Investigations Group of UNOPS offers the following information based on law enforcement advisories:

If you receive one of these scam messages,

  • do not reply to any of the messages;
  • do not open attachments or click on links provided in the email;
  • do not provide details of your bank accounts;
  • do not offer details of your company or workplace;
  • do not send or hand over any identity documents or educational certificates or letters with your personal or official letterheads and logos—not even copies of those documents.

If you are already in contact with perpetrators or have already paid advanced fees, save all received and sent messages; save all documents relating to transactions and remittances; do not agree to attend meetings where money is promised to be handed over to you; and contact your local police force and follow their advice.

You can also find further information on advanced fee scam on the INTERPOL and United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) websites. See the links on the top right of this page.

If you are still unsure of what actions to take, simply delete the e-mail or send a copy of the e-mail to UNOPS for the attention of IAIG, Midtermolen 3, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark or to: fraudhotline@unops.org.

(*) This name emanates from the relevant section of the Criminal Code of Nigeria, where the first instances of such scam schemes occurred.