PRESS RELEASE

World Bank Group Warns of Fraudulent Investment Schemes Misrepresenting Its Name

April 26, 2004

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2004 ― In light of recent developments showing an increasing number of "advance fee fraud schemes" misusing the World Bank Group’s name, the World Bank Group is warning against investment deals and advanced fee fraud schemes that misuse the institution’s name or claim to be affiliated with the World Bank Group.

In several of these schemes, individuals have falsely represented themselves to be "World Bank Auditors" or members of the "World Bank West African Regional Delegation," and have sent faxes to creditors of several West African governments, claiming to be empowered by these governments to repay the government’s past debts.  Often official-looking World Bank Group letterheads are used for these faxes.  In some cases, the solicitors even use the names of actual World Bank Group staff members to bolster the credibility of the solicitation.

Advanced fee fraud schemes involve solicitations that encourage potential victims to provide personal information such as signatures or bank account information, and to pay certain advance fees, often described as "processing fees."  In return, the potential victim is promised sums of money which the solicitor has no intention of paying.  Police estimate that thousands of these advance fee fraud solicitations – only a very small fraction involving the use of the World Bank Group’s name – are sent by fax or e-mail every week and are addressed to individuals and companies around the world.

The World Bank Group disavows such schemes, and would like to caution the public to be wary of these and other similar solicitations that falsely claim to be affiliated with the World Bank Group.  Questions concerning the alleged involvement of any part of the World Bank Group (the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Finance Corporation, the International Development Association, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes) in a particular transaction may be directed to Damian Milverton at External Affairs.

Media Contacts
In Washington
Damian Milverton
Tel : (202) 473-6735
dmilverton@worldbank.org

PRESS RELEASE NO:
2004/266/S

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