According to Dutch newspaper NRC, Amsterdam Zuidoost (South-east Amsterdam) is the centre of a worldwide network of Nigerian con artists who send those e-mails asking for big bucks, commonly known as 419 fraud. “Nigerian fraudsters regard the Netherlands as a safe haven. The police are seen as soft and, moreover, Amsterdam Zuidoost is home to a close-knit African community making it easy to go to ground. It is also conveniently near to Schiphol airport.
According to Yvette Schoenmakers, a police academy criminologist, the first Nigerian swindlers started using the Netherlands as a base back in 1990. The police were unaware of what was going on because the scam was not directed at Dutch citizens. Most of the victims were foreigners, often American, some of whom lost thousands or even hundreds of thousands of euro.
How much money is involved in the Dutch-based scam is unknown, says Schoenmakers, although police figures from 2005 suggest that foreign victims may have lost a combined 22 million euro. But the real damage could be at least ten times that, she says.”