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419 Scam Blow-by-Blow 249

timbos writes "Check out this six-page dissection of a 419 scam at The Register. In particular, the fake banking site that the fraudsters set up is interesting..."
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419 Scam Blow-by-Blow

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  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Friday July 09, 2004 @01:52PM (#9654196)
    Please carry out the following tasks, if it doesn't work then try from a different PC.
    1.Click On Internet Explorer
    2.Go to The TOOLS MENU
    3.Go to Internet Options
    4.Go to Advanced
    5.Scroll down the list and Click/Tick the check box enabling Java
    6. Restart Your Computer
    7. Log on to UMCIB and go to e-banking then enter your usernameand password, this will take you to the transfer page.

    If this doesnt work, please call me, my direct line is: +44-778 057 2211

    The accounts department insist that there is no problem from here and the problem is from your end.

    I apologise most sincerely for the delays and your inability to access your account, however it is not a problem from our end as the system shows that everything is working perfectly and you are the only one with this problem, please try again and if the system persists please let me know.

    Sounds like a Comcast technician talking to a subscriber about why their billing system charged twice the month's bill every month for six months or why there has been intermittent block sync on the cable modem.

    Service Tech: "Oh, if you were to purchase this $50 line filter we could install it for $90/hr and you wouldn't lose block sync anymore!"

    The 419 scammers can't get away with it why should Comcast?

    Moderators please note: this was an attempt at humor.
    • Re:1-419-COM-CAST. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:03PM (#9654299)
      Moderators please note: this was an attempt at humor.

      If you have to mention it, your attempt failed.

      • Re:1-419-COM-CAST. (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        God, I swear the moderators are either way to anal, or just completely daft.
      • "If you have to mention it, your attempt failed."

        Unfortunately, many jokes don't translate to the internet well because of the tone of voice often times needed to convey sarcasm.

        If his joke was obviously a joke when spoken because of the tone of voice, it is completely appropriate for him to inform us so that we can read his post with a different "voice" in our head.

        That, and there are some really anal mods around here who mod first and ask questions later.

    • Re:1-419-COM-CAST. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TedCheshireAcad ( 311748 ) <> on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:11PM (#9654389) Homepage
      Sounds like a similar scenario from SBC Internet Service. They told my mother that "there was a problem with her IP Telephony Stack Throughput" and that they would have to send a technician out there at $50/hour for about 3 hours to fix it. I re-started her DSL modem and it worked again. Brilliant.
      • Re:1-419-COM-CAST. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ScottGant ( 642590 ) <scott_gant AT sbcglobal DOT netNOT> on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:33PM (#9654582) Homepage
        I had a similar experience where a company such as SBC wanted to send someone out that would charge by the hour.

        I said, that's ok, just cancel my account cause there are other ISP's in my area, thanks. Before I could hang up they of course said "wait a minute" and "got the manager" etc etc.

        Needless to say, they sent someone out to fix the problem...which happened to be a real hardware/line problem...for free.

        While this may not always work, it most cases it does.
  • 419 is Ohio (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 09, 2004 @01:52PM (#9654199)
    Off topic, but the first time I saw a "419" scam I thought it had something to do with Ohio. :)

    So, is anything actually done to promote awareness of these kinds of scams. I always chuckle at the variations I get in my inbox, but surely we're not just relying on common sense to save the majority of the populace... are we?
    • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:07PM (#9654345) Homepage Journal
      "So, is anything actually done to promote awareness of these kinds of scams."

      I think the darwinism that is taking place is handling most of the awareness.
    • Re:419 is Ohio (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:11PM (#9654385)
      Yes! There several things that are out there to help promote knowledge about these types of scams. There are a couple of websites this:
      1) : website from the Secret Service providing info about the 419 scam

      2) : this website is dedicated to scambaiting and information about 419. Includes a forum. "scambaiting" is a term used often to describe when someone pretends to be interested in a scam, but tries to waste as much of the scammer's time and resources as possible, in an attempt to keep him busy on the scambaiter, rather then on a potential victim

      3) : similar to Includes news on 419 scams, forum as well.

      4) : this is dedicated to attacking 419 scammers with websites. It does this by stealing bandwidth from scammer websites, fake banks, etc. For example, the one listed in this article,, is a fake bank. This site does it by taking images from the fakebank's websites, and then reloading its webpage, thus stealing bandwidth. At the first of every month, there is a 419 "Flash mob", where about a dozen or so fake bank sites' images are loaded to a specific page, and then many, many people go to these sites, in an attempt to shut down as many sites as possible.

      5) if you do a search on google for "419 scam", there are also lots of sites.

    • by FJ ( 18034 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:39PM (#9654645)
      Having lived in the Ohio 419 area code, I can confirm that it is indeed a scam. Please send me money.
    • 419 is Ohio

      But the 420 scam is in Humboldt County!

      I'll laugh at your jokes, if you laugh at mine. But don't make it an arms race. I have only limited oxygen to breathe.

  • Article quote: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shackma2 ( 685062 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @01:53PM (#9654207)
    "how could they be so stupid?", and "surely everyone is aware of these scams by now"

    Thats about how I feel. Also its important to realize that scams like this exist everywhere, not just the internet.

    • Re:Article quote: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fishwallop ( 792972 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:07PM (#9654344)
      No bank communication I've ever seen has had such poor grammar and spelling. Furthermore, reputable institutions tend to prefer traditional mail to e-mail.

      Consider a few sentences from a letter from one "Clive Bannister, head of international operations including private banking at HSBC Republic", which should have triggered suspicion:

      "Cash movement across
      boarders has become especially strict since the incidents of 9/11"
      "Four days later, information started to trickle in, apparently Moser was dead. A person who suited his description was declared dead of a heart attack in Canne, South of France"
      And then this, which I think in English means "hey, wanna join my scam?":
      "What I wish to relate to you will smack of unethical practice but I want you to understand something. It is only an outsider to the banking world who finds the internal politics of the banking world aberrational. The world of private banking especially is fraught with huge rewards for those who occupy certain offices and oversee certain portfolios."
      • The spelling errors and grammar problems means they're not using Outlook to send mail...
      • let's not forget the intitial e-mail from a account

        From: "Sarah Londom"

        Sent: Friday, June 04, 2004 9:40 PM
        Subject: H.S.B.C.## STANDARD CLAIMS ENQUIRY?

        Date: 05/06/2004

        Transfer of Title Enquiry:H.S.B.C.

        My name is Sarah Londom. I work as an executive partner for the firm Dupont consulting and Londom, Investment Brokers and Security Consultants U.K.
        We are conducting an end of year consolidated financial statement for the year ending M

      • I found the grammar and spelling to be rather better than what I've come to expect from the average 419'r. It's usually quite clear that these scammers either uneducated, or don't speak/write english natively; the poor command of the language is a huge red flag.

        I have to give the guy credit for trying... it's the first 419 scam I've read that correctly used the word "aberrational" in a sentence.
      • Re:Article quote: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by snake_dad ( 311844 )
        No bank communication I've ever seen has had such poor grammar and spelling.

        But you are educated enough to spot that. I guess the intended targets are hardly equipped to detect bad spelling. (Neither am I but that's ok, I'm just a dayem ferriner ;-) )

        And then this, which I think in English means "hey, wanna join my scam?"

        Make the target feel smarter than the rest, and make him feel like he finally gets his (well deserved) lucky break... sinker, line, hook.

      • I don't know about your bank- but my bank sent out a letter saying that they were no longer going to circulate paper in any means, unless requested, in order to cut costs.

        All my banking is done online, and the last thing I had mailed to me was a copy of a cashed cheque that I specifically requested, and I got it via e-mail.

        I'd like all of my financial transactions to go that way.
    • Re:Article quote: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fr2asbury ( 462941 ) *
      And I actually had someone yesterday IM me asking if I'd heard about the AOL/MS email tracking software that was going to get him lots of money. I felt kinda bad crushing his dream, but not very.
    • Re:Article quote: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ron_ivi ( 607351 ) <sdotno@cheapcomp ... minus poet> on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:13PM (#9654402)
      It can happen to anyone. Funny how it has some parallels to this other nigerian fraud scandal [].

      If you haven't followed it, it was essentially "If you put $150-$180 million in this offshore bank account, I'll give your company a $5 billion [] contract for a Nigerian Natural Gas plant; and even kick back $5million to you personally."

      Apparently even this big company that should have nown better said "sure".

    • Re:Article quote: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GoMissedAtTheMAP ( 792124 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:34PM (#9654590)
      It is hard to have much sympathy for someone who was so unethical as to think that this was OK if it was for real. It was spelled out for him that the money was not rightfull his, but here are the 'deceased's' personal details so that you can assist me with stealing the money. There were multiple thieves involved here, and hard times or not, the karma train took his $1000.
      • Re:Article quote: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gurps_npc ( 621217 )
        This is the exact same arguement used by Nigeria for why they don't persue these cases.

        Yes, the "victim" was not a nice person, but he never actually committed any crimes and people did in fact steal from him. Perhaps he would have had a change of heart and not gone through with it (Yes I know it is unlikely, but stranger things have happened.)

        The law is for everyone, even the greedy morons. The fact that the victim was a scumbucket is irrelevant/offtopic, not insightful

        • Re:Article quote: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sallen ( 143567 )
          Yes, the "victim" was not a nice person, but he never actually committed any crimes and people did in fact steal from him

          Are you sure? IANAL, so possibly one can answer. Isn't conspiracy to commit a crime in itself a crime, even if the actual crime is not perpetrated? (ie, consipiracy to commit fraud/theft, etc.) It sure seems on the surface he's certainly guilty of that. So he got stung for 1000 while trying to 'steal' millions. No sympathy here. Possibly the comment the victim is a scumbucket is irrel

    • Re:Article quote: (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sTalking_Goat ( 670565 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:43PM (#9654680) Homepage
      Whats really starnge about this is that its not a very sophisticated scam. A few years back I was almost phone scammed but only because the scammers had a lot of info from an old lawsuit I was invovled in with about 300 other people. They called me up claiming the company had settled and they need to info before they could send me my cheque. So I started spilling my guts until she asked me for my #SS and alarm bells started going off in my head. I asked what for and she started fast talking me. They almost had me. They had a lot of info they couldn't have gotten from public records. They even had my name right, which is unusual for telemarketers because my name is long and wierd and poeple tend to chop off the end or misspell it.
      • Re:Article quote: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well, Norbert J. Geisendorker, of 199 S. Cactus Ave, Brownsville Texas, that kind of information is pretty easy to obtain.

        Oh, and say hi to your wife Maria for me.
    • Re:Article quote: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bjohnson ( 3225 )
      This is an ancient scam, a variant of 'The Spanish Prisoner' [] which dates back at least to the 17th century
  • Yeesh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @01:57PM (#9654239) Journal
    This seems like a lot of work that could have been just as easily been expressed as "Hey, dumbass -- do you go around mailing random Africans to give them stacks of money? Well, they don't do that either! Just delete the damn emails!"
  • Did anyone get... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Friday July 09, 2004 @01:57PM (#9654240) Homepage Journal
    ...the new Spam mail with links? I just received a very reasonable sounding spam that talked about how some official was involved in a money scam, and recently died. It then backs up those statements with the following links: eId=2696 [] f111052004.html []

    The thing was so convincing, that it went right past Google Mail's SPAM filter and landed in my inbox. (All other Nigerian scams ended up in the SPAM folder.) Takes things to a whole new level.

    In case anyone's interested, here's the complete text:

    Subject: Hi...partner needed

    I do not want to intrude so I will be brief and try and get to the point. I
    have to use this way to contact you because it is quicker and more secured
    for me. In today's world, I know it is sometimes hard to believe stories from
    someone you dont know because I know we have never meet. In our world a
    female's rights are not equal to a man's. Hence I need to look for contacts
    outside our shores. My name is Angela Afolabi. My father, Sunday Afolabi,
    just died some weeks back in a London Hospital of Cancer. He was a former
    Internal Affairs Minister inmy country up till last year. This was before he
    fell out with the present government. And since then and up till his death,
    life was not easy for me and the family, but I give thanks to god that I am
    still alive.
    Before the death of my father, things were not easy and though my father died
    leaving a fortune to us, the Government has refused to release the funds. My
    father was imprisoned for several months last year and I am sure this is what
    hastened his death. He had been arrested for being involved in a National
    Identity contract scheme involving a lot of money.
    For more on this, go to: cl eId=2696 /headline/ f111052004.html

    I and my family have gone through alot.
    Currently, I need an agent for reasons which I will say later. I was close to
    my father and you see my father revealed to me certain information about some
    bond certificates and money with a firm abroad when he was sick. I never
    realised he would die so soon. I am unable to act on it now for security
    As a young woman here in this country, my options are limited. So I need an
    agent or a partner in this endeavour.

    Thank you.

    • Re:Did anyone get... (Score:4, Informative)

      by mattdm ( 1931 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:17PM (#9654446) Homepage
      ...the new Spam mail with links?

      What do you mean new? I've been getting 419 spam for years which contains links to news sites that support the story. For a while, I was collecting the different ones just for fun, and of the 800 or so such messages I got in about six months, almost 200 have references to legit news sites....
      • See, a 419 with links is a new one to me. Most of them seem to think that they can convince you BY SHOUTING AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS. Others try to spin an interesting story about being a lawyer or some such. Never seen such a convincing 419 before now, though.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      And your reply should have gone roughly like this:

      Dear Angela,

      I must admit, your offer sounds intriguing, and I am interested. However, before I proceed, I must ask you one simple question: how would you rate your cocksucking skills?

      Thank you.
    • by Ayanami Rei ( 621112 ) * < minus punct> on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:49PM (#9654738) Journal
      Relatives of really rich or powerful people DO NOT email random people to move money out of the country.

      There are plenty of other, easier, and safer ways to do that, especially for rich people.

      There's nothing reasonable about it.
      • I said the email "sounded" reasonable. As in, fairly easy for someone to believe if they're not the brightest bulb in the bunch. I didn't say the story wasn't without holes. At the very least it annoys me because it makes it through the spam filter.
  • Yikes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Giant Ape Skeleton ( 638834 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @01:57PM (#9654244) Homepage
    The article makes for chilling reading.

    Never before (outside of a David Mamet script) have I seen such a detailed picture of con artist
    playing on someone's combined greed and credulity.

    The art of the Con is alive and well...

  • by Hatfieldje ( 147296 ) <<hhatfiel> <at> <>> on Friday July 09, 2004 @01:57PM (#9654252)
    I mean, he got an e-mail that says:

    US $8,370,000.00 has arrived here and you should have access to your account by Noon today.

    This guy's rich. I hope someone sends me an e-mail telling me how I can get rich like him.
  • by suso ( 153703 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @01:58PM (#9654257) Homepage Journal
    Just in case nobody else posts it: []
  • Just plain stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Blindman ( 36862 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:03PM (#9654300) Journal
    Whenever I see the make money fast schemes on television or on the internet, my first question is always, "What do they need me for?" Schemes that actually make money sell themselves. All I know initially is that rather than invest money into the scheme itself they are spending it recruiting new people. Does this sound fishy? A person that really intends to commit fraud probably won't trust a random stranger.

    I understand that people fall on hard times and get desperate for salvation, but outside of cinema does it ever just fall into your lap? I once went to a meeting that I didn't realize at the time was for a pyramid scheme when I was looking for a job. I assume I was being recruited based on that fact. I shudder to imagine how worse it would have been had I bought into that crap.

    Hope is a beautiful thing until it makes people stupid.
    • On the news channels on DirecTV, I often see ads for businesses that claim to have limitless potential, but they need people to come forward to invest and help distribute whatever they're selling. They claim it's a way to get rich without having to do much work.

      Hey, wait a second. If your product really does sell itself, you wouldn't need my help. You'd be selling that product directly without any need for other investors to share the profits with. Something's just not right with that picture. Real busines
      • by cK-Gunslinger ( 443452 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:34PM (#9654603) Journal

        I love those "Cashless ATMs" and "Internet Terminal" schemes they offer on TV. Basically, they do all the the work and you just collect the profits each week! Ha! My favorite line is, "Millions have joined up, but the best locations are still available!" I wonder if those "millions" of people who signed up see those commercials and go, "WTF?! People are getting better locations than me?"
        • Re:Just plain stupid (Score:5, Informative)

          by timholman ( 71886 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:17PM (#9655069)
          I love those "Cashless ATMs" and "Internet Terminal" schemes they offer on TV. Basically, they do all the the work and you just collect the profits each week! Ha! My favorite line is, "Millions have joined up, but the best locations are still available!" I wonder if those "millions" of people who signed up see those commercials and go, "WTF?! People are getting better locations than me?"

          Anyone who is curious about those movie/phone/internet kiosk commercials you're always seeing on the SciFi channel ought to check out According to this site (set up by one of the victims) they're all shell companies being run by the same group of criminals operating in Florida.

          These guys collect the money under a shell corporation, declare bankruptcy, then move on to a new set of victims under a new corporate name. Neither the state of Florida nor the U.S. government has moved against them yet. At $20K (or more) per victim, the kiosk scammers make 419 scammers look like petty thieves by comparison.
        • I liked the commercial for one of those deals where the guy was sitting by the pool with his old clamshell iBook, as an attractive young woman handed him another cocktail, to show you what sort of amazing lifestyle you could expect if this deal was actually as good as they claim it is.

          I guess they couldn't afford to rent a Ferrari to park in the background of the shot.
    • by mabu ( 178417 ) *
      My favorite is the guy on TV selling an information package on "How to make big bucks in real estate". Of course, he's not in the real estate business. He's in the merchandising-of-information-package business.

      This reminds me of an e*trade commercial that showed a guy saying, "Want to make lots of money? Simply buy my book, 'How to get people to send you $50 for a book.'"

  • Greed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:04PM (#9654307)
    At the end of the day, all these scams center around one thing - that is, that the person is greedy enough to be prepared to bend a few rules to get hold of a seemingly preposterious amount of money.

    Every time I see a TV programme where someone who was interviewed who had been ripped off, I have to keep remembering that all semblence of common sense and decency went out of their minds in the pursuit of wealth.

    For example, who really thinks that there is nothing wrong with going about pretending to be a dead persons uncle to claim money that isn't rightfully yours?

    • Re:Greed (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:09PM (#9654362)
      Every time I see a TV programme where someone who was interviewed who had been ripped off, I have to keep remembering that all semblence of common sense and decency went out of their minds in the pursuit of wealth.

      This is an interesting component of 419 schemes that cause US law enforcement resources to not care about them. See, since any 419 scheme in order to be credible involves an offer of what would have been an illegal transfer of money to you, the fact you got burned becomes a natural consequence of your attempt to break the law.

      If we have so many laws against money transfers to terrorists, just how do you think a few million is going to be given to you in any way that the IRS can't get its hands on?... You should know that if you do get the money promised in the way they promise you'd be breaking the law, and that's why law enforcement isn't behind you when you go crying "SCAM!"
      • Re:Greed (Score:3, Informative)

        by br0ck ( 237309 )
        US law enforcement do care. Check out all of the US agencies fighting 419 scams on this page [].
      • the fact you got burned becomes a natural consequence of your attempt to break the law

        I am reminded of how my school sports teacher explained the off-side rule in shinty (a hockey-like game, similar to hurling) - that a player in an off-side position is not afforded the protection of any of the other laws of the game, and therefore a defender is free to remonstrate with the illegally-placed player in any manner desired (eg application of stick to attacker's head). Don't know whether this is actually tr

    • Me me me! (Score:4, Funny)

      by raehl ( 609729 ) * <raehl311@yahoo.GAUSScom minus math_god> on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:24PM (#9654501) Homepage
      For example, who really thinks that there is nothing wrong with going about pretending to be a dead persons uncle to claim money that isn't rightfully yours?

      What's wrong with that? It's the $1,000 up-front out-of-pocket expense that I object to.
  • I'm not the most careful person in the world, and I often do dumb things, but when it comes to my money I try and make sure that something is legit. Services like Paypal aside, why on earth would you want to pick a bank that you can't actually go to their physical location?

    Maybe I'm just ignorant and need to get on the all spam is telling the truth bandwagon....

    • Why do you set PayPal aside? Because they have so many users that the chance they pick you to screw is small? Because you have such a small ammount of cash going back and forth?

      I'm curious really. I don't use paypal or anything similar. But i have see all the paypalsucks things and read paypals terms a hiwle back.
    • > why on earth would you want to pick a bank that you can't actually go to their physical location?

      When was the last time you stopped by and said hi to an e*trade teller?
  • by rozz ( 766975 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:06PM (#9654338)
    Please carry out the following tasks, if it doesn't work then try from a different PC. 1.Click On Internet Explorer 2.Go to The TOOLS MENU 3. ...

    please stop bashing the 419 scammers .. the poor guys have enough problems already

  • by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:07PM (#9654346) 4-1

    Friday File: Nigeria moves to curb flow of scam-spam
    8 July, 2004
    by Robert Dutt

    So how's your e-mail inbox today? Chances are, it's about to become a lot happier place.
    According to published reports, the Nigerian department responsible for economical and financial crime has rounded up some 500 people it suspects are involved in the "Nigeria scam," the oft-documented e-mail scam that gets us so many e-mail messages from "widows of former government officials" or "personal secretaries to the deposed president."

    You've all seen them -- it's a message from someone you've never heard from before, in questionable English, anxious to make a deal with you to use your bank account to get some massive sum of money out of their troubled homeland. In return, you get a sizable portion of the overall cash. And, of course, if you're silly enough to go along with it, soon they'll require you to put forward a few thousand dollars to help "clear" the money. And apparently this scam works -- because not only does it keep going, but officials in Nigeria have confiscated properties worth $500 million (U.S.) in relation to the arrests. That means that on average, each one of these individuals had $1 million worth of stuff that officials suspected came to them as a result of silly Westerners who didn't learn from their parents that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

    The Nigeria scam, also known as the 419 Advance Fee Fraud for the section in the Nigerian criminal code addressing the scam, has been around for years, first coming in letters, then faxes, and really hitting its stride in the last ten years as e-mail provided a super-cheap way of trying to bilk millions from their hard-earned money all at the same time.

    The identities of those arrested were not disclosed, but published reports have stated that there are a number of high-profile Nigerian names on the list, including lawyers, politicians and bankers.

    And things are about to get even worse for those using the 419 scam, which can only make life better for us -- last month, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission announced it is developing a piece of software that will be made available to ISPs and government departments worldwide to help identify mail sent by scammers based on volumes of mail and keywords in the message.

    No word on what Nigeria intends to do with the $500 million collected, but we suspect you may soon be getting e-mails suggesting that for a small investment to help clear the money, you can get up to $1 million of the money you lost to Nigeria scammers back from the "government."

    I only hope this roundup doesn't mess up the deal I've got cooking with Patrick Bemenge -- I'm only a few more e-mails and one cheque away from my $15 million for helping him get $150 million out of Zambia.

    • The problem with so many of these kleptocratic African countries is that "cleaning up the criminals" is usually just shorthand for "increasing our protection fee" or "getting rid of the competition."

      The corruption is so endemic, it's hard to see them actually doing anything about it. Maybe an unlucky few independent operators without protection will wind up face-down in a Lagos ditch with a Kalishnikov slug in the back of the head, but does anyone expect the government to actually *do* anything constructi
    • the Nigerian department responsible for economical and financial crime

      . . .
      Naaah, too easy.

  • 419 scams (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WarMonkey ( 721558 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:07PM (#9654352)
    Fraud is wrong. Laws against it should be enforced. But even so, this whole matter raises some questions...

    By increasing the speed, reach and convenience of communication, are we creating a world where those who refuse to learn are more readily identified as fools, and then allowed to screw themselves up?

    Might that, on some level, be a Good Thing(tm)?

    I work in tech support. I am continually amazed by the lack of critical thinking skills people exhibit.

    This is not a "technical" thing. People act like retards because they have no sense of responsibility for their own selves.

    At what point do we say "The world has tried to protect you from yourself long enough. It's on YOU now!"
  • I can feel bad if these victims if the scammers are taking advantage of people in a weakened state that would inhibit judgement or lend itself to gullibility, such as the elderly. However, I keep reading more and more about "average Joes" falling for this crap, which leads me to wonder-- didn't they ever hear the phrase "if it's too good to be true, it probably is"? Weren't they, at least once in their life, warned about get-rich-quick schemes?

    Doesn't an alarm ever go off in their head that just screams
  • Scam-o-rama... (Score:4, Informative)

    by abborren ( 773413 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:09PM (#9654369) Journal as interesting site found when researching these scams, Scam-o-rama []. It contains lots of e-mail conversations with scammers and also some funny pictures. They also have an interesting case when somebody actually scammed the scammers (see the stories marked in red)
  • Why don't the British police get off their butts and chase down the instigators of these frauds? Someone who is involved in 419 fraud is likely to be involved in other criminal activities.
  • by MikeHunt69 ( 695265 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:20PM (#9654460) Journal
    I usually just follow one simple rule:

    Don't touch anything that uses Western Union.

    Unless you're the one recieving the cash of course...

  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:21PM (#9654475)
    Hey, I just sent my $699 license payment to SCO through that bank. I'm sure they'll get it any time now and I can go back to running Linux legally.

    They also offered to accept my $3000 RIAA apology-for-using-KaZaA payment.

    And next week they've promised me a toaster for opening my new account.

  • by shic ( 309152 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:35PM (#9654607)
    My anti-spam hiccupped a couple of weeks ago and I saw one of their mails while sipping my first morning coffee. Clearly inflation was a serious problem in Nigeria... they wanted my help shifting 9 billion dollars someone unexpectedly misplaced. How sorry I felt for him trying to launder a sum in excess of the national GDP!

  • I repeat what I said in a previous post [], the only way to read this without having to click through all the pages is to go to page one, click the P in the little circle for print. Then the entire article is opened up on one page, nice.
  • Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arieswind ( 789699 ) * on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:35PM (#9654619) Homepage
    Seems like a whole lot of work for 1000$, doesnt it? i can make 1000$ in about 2.5 days....
    • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Scorchio ( 177053 )
      That was my initial thought. Well, the first part anyway. I can only assume they were (at least attempting to) scam several people through the same setup at the same time. I'm sure they didn't send out just the one email. What we don't know is how many other people fell for it and gathered up the full $8000 requested. They must have been disappointed that this guy didn't manage the full amount, but still squeezed what they could out of him.
  • Can be found at P-P-P []
    In short, the guy was contacted after he put his iBook up on eBay. He realized it was a scam, and sent the scammer a notebook instead. The forum has pictures from people who lived around the delivery zone, and were actually there when the scammer opened the faked package. Definately worth a read.
  • I tried to send them Nigerians a big bundle of Canadian Tire money once, but I never got any reply.
  • by PowerBert ( 265553 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @02:38PM (#9654637) Homepage
    Why can't my bank store it's customers account information inside a java applet. That way I could download my account and take it with me ;)

    strings account.class | grep -i welcome
    Welcome Richard J Cronan
    Welcome RAYMOND SEAH
    Welcome KENNETH W. BUSSA
    WELCOME Jean Paul Bouchet
    Welcome Orin Gillian
    Welcome Teimuraz Ramazashvili
    Welcome HENRY PARK

    Poor old DG, or should I say "DONALD GENE GILMORE"

    interestingly the java class also contains the string "Please Produce Anti-Terrorist Certificate"
  • You can send 419 scams to the Secret Service for data mining. The email address is:

    I really don't know what the feds do with these, but I haven't recieved any 419 scam mail for a while.

    I imagine that 419 scammers don't like being investigated by Patriot-Act-empowered feds who have the right to hold people indefinitely without charges and don't require warrants for search and siezure.

  • Aren't most victims of these type of scams Americans? Aren't the elderly most-often cited as the poor victims that lost X% of their life-long savings to these frauds?

    If the above is true, where are the AARP-sponsored TV ads and other PSAs notifying the public?
  • usbank spoof warning (Score:4, Informative)

    by DumbSwede ( 521261 ) <> on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:12PM (#9655000) Homepage Journal
    For honest users this isn't half as scary as things like the usbank scam Where Claims to be a link to usbank in your email, the link brings up your browser And if it is a default IE, a Javascript or ActiveX overwrites the URL with a bogus URL when it is really, if done from the link in your mail it is flawless except for the secure lock symbol, which they spoof by Just putting a picture in the main page rather than on the brower's bottom border.

    The whole purpose to steal ID PINS and Passwords.

    If you are a usbank member, beware any mail claiming need you to log in for some security check.

    • Just if you are a usbank member? I've known to beware any email claiming to need my log in for a long time. (I remember when it was a big thing fishing for AOL accounts and I'm sure it goes back MUCH farther.)
  • by Dimensio ( 311070 ) <darkstar.iglou@com> on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:16PM (#9655060)
    I know of two Nigerian scammers who are willing to defraud a church of over $20,000. How do I know this? Because I claim to be a pastor of the church with the means to give them church funds. They are so greedy that they were willing to be baptized [] in the name of our Church []. I even got them to sign the church membership agreement [].

    Now if I can just get a tithe from them...
  • ... who don't realize TANSTAAFL [].

    BBspot [] ran a satire article about a fictional Nigerian philanthropist []. This is a satire site, mind you.

    Nevertheless, he's gotten many emails from people asking, "How can I reach this Esenam Ayele"? Look at the list of fools and believers [] of this obvious satire article.

    He's added a disclaimer at the bottom of the article (Editor's Note: This article is a piece of satire. Please stop e-mailing me with your requests for money.) But it hasn't done much good.

  • by Rai ( 524476 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @03:40PM (#9655370) Homepage
    All I got was a lousy bag of oregano. I call shenanigans!
  • If the Register know his address and phone number, and probably know contact details for a victim, surely the local police would be interested... all the detective work has been done for them!

    All they have to do is pick up the guy for questioning!

    I know that the police don't seem to be interested in this, (El Reg says that the National High Tech Crime Unit referred them to the local force), but we pay our taxes for a reason!!
  • by dekashizl ( 663505 ) on Friday July 09, 2004 @06:01PM (#9656841) Journal
    I have a SOLUTION for 419 victims. If you've been a victim of a 419 scam, you can sign up on my "419 Blacklist". The way it works is that all 419 scammers are required to check their victims against this list, and if they are on the list, THEY CANNOT BE SCAMMED!

    This is like a "Do Not Scam" registry (like the FTC's "Do Not Call"). It REALLY WORKS!

    All you need to do is send your Name, address, SSN, and the credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and PINs of any and all accounts you wish to protect. Just a single email, and you're PROTECTED FOR LIFE!

    This service normally costs $100 initially plus $50 per account you wish to protect, but I am making it available to Slashdot members for a special rate. I will WAIVE THE $100 SIGNUP FEE! Just send the information and paypal the fee to me and you will be PROTECTED FOR LIFE!

    How can you lose? See what other members are saying:

    "I feel protected. FOR LIFE!" -- Jack Hortens, 2003
    "Thanks for protecting me for life." -- Peter Luzzo, 2003
    "I've never felt so protected, especially for life." -- Thomas Frank, 2004

    Sign up now.
  • It's amazing how common these scams are online these days. I was contacted by someone on a dating website who claimed to live in my area but was currently working in Africa. They claimed they couldn't cash their paycheck there and asked if they could send it to me to cash and send back to them via Western Union. Assuming it was just someone goofing around, I told them to go for it and received a cashiers check in the mail about a week later for $4000. I took it right to my bank, knowing that they could check the routing numbers and such and it only took them about 30 seconds to notice that nothing on the check matched up. Apparently many people just mindlessly take these checks in and get the cash - then send it off to an address in Africa. About a week later when the bank tries to process the check, they discover it's a fake and the guy that cashed it is responsible for paying the money back. I scanned everything and sent all the info I had to everyone that could possibly be involved - Yahoo (where we chatted and emailed), UPS (who delivered the fake check), the dating website, Western Union, the FBI, my local police department... and the only response I got was from the dating website telling me the offending profile would be removed. It's kinda cool to show off my fake $4000 check from a fake African bank though. :)

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry