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Government Spam The Almighty Buck The Internet

Nigerian "Scam Police" Shut Down 800 Web Sites 200

Sooner Boomer writes "Nigerian police, in what is named Operation 'Eagle Claw,' have shut down 800 scam web sites and arrested members of 18 syndicates behind the fraudulent scam sites. Reports on and Pointblank give details on the busts. The investigation was done in cooperation with Microsoft to help develop smart technology software capable of detecting fraudulent emails. From Breitbart: 'When operating at full capacity, within the next six months, the scheme, dubbed "Eagle Claw," should be able to forewarn around a quarter of million potential victims.'"
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Nigerian "Scam Police" Shut Down 800 Web Sites

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:23PM (#29842309)

    Would you like to help me transfer millions of nira to me? You will be well paid!

    • I already have one hundred trillions []. But thank you. Here's your tip [].

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm a Nigerian policeman. We caught a bunch of spammers and think you may have fallen victim to one of them. Can you provide your banking details so we can verify you are not affected? Thanks!$$

  • In other news, Americans now falling victim to fraudulent spam emails from individuals claiming to be members of the Royal Family of the Ivory Coast.
    • by Gerzel ( 240421 ) * <.brollyferret. .at.> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @11:19PM (#29842571) Journal

      What? You mean that some of those scammers were ACTUALLY Nigerian? I had always assumed even that was fake...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BKX ( 5066 )

        Yes, they even have a strange rap subculture over there, kind of like gangsta rappers in the US. Here's a youtube [] music video of one of the more popular songs. The name of the song, yahoozee, is the name the Nigerians give to rich scammers. Oddly, the yahoozee seem to buy only American after they steal American money (hell, the entire song is in (very bad) English; they even stole our language.).

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jonadab ( 583620 )
          > (hell, the entire song is in (very bad) English; they even stole our language.)

          They didn't steal the language from us. They got it from the bloody limeys.

          Incidentally, so did we.

          > Oddly, the yahoozee seem to buy only American after they steal American money

          American goods are uber-cool throughout pretty much the entire third world. Buying American stuff is a form of conspicuous consumption, a banner that says, in effect, "I can afford all this, look at me, I'm wealthier than all y'all, ha ha ha."

      • Oh boy are you in for a surprise: It's Nigeria's third most profitable industry!!

  • by ad454 ( 325846 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:28PM (#29842335) Journal

    Finally! It's about time that international police and anti-crime resources put the same effort in stopping online cross border crime that they do for offline!

    Kudos to Microsoft for helping. Heck, I would accept help from Satan himself, if it reduce the spam and online crime.

    • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @11:20PM (#29842575)

      Finally! It's about time that international police and anti-crime resources put the same effort in stopping online cross border crime that they do for offline!

      Kudos to Microsoft for helping. Heck, I would accept help from Satan himself, if it reduce the spam and online crime.

      Well, I suspect that even though the tech is not fully deployed yet, these sites were already showing up as scam sites in Firefox and the latest versions if IE.

      I suspect the Nigerian police snarfed up the already useless sites and shut them down in a halfhearted show of being proactive even while on the take. Probably took the opportunity to get rid of a few competitors as well.

      These guys have been operating there for so long that only a corrupt police force could have missed them. There is plenty of evidence these guys are less than squeaky clean: [] and [] etc.

    • So you actually wished for the retards of the world to have more power? Because that's exactly what they have now. Because they now have more money.
      Wait for them spending it on the things you hate the most. Making TV, politics, and the whole country... just a little bit worse.

      Oh thank you so very much!
      Because I don't have to live in your country. So now I will have an advantage over all of your country. Including you.

      But hmmm... I could do even better... Hey, I have a REALLY nice spam filtering system on my

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:29PM (#29842339) Homepage
    Unfortunately, humans are quite stupid. Even smart people are often stupid outside their area of expertise. I know someone professor at a major university who almost fell for one of these scams. It is hard to draw the line between ignorance and stupidity but as long as ignorant or stupid people exist unethical will try to take advantage of them. And they'll just find new ways of doing it. More education is probably the key. But even then, they'll just modify the scams accordingly.
    • by mc moss ( 1163007 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:41PM (#29842411)

      Was it this professor at Harvard who sent 600k to nigerian scammers? []

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by LifesABeach ( 234436 )
        What do you say to the company that makes the software, that drives the worlds bad guys, that make careers spamming, scamming, and cracking? Thank you?
        • by selven ( 1556643 )

          Wait, so making a useful tool is bad because criminals also benefit from it?

          • For example, Company A makes a chain saw. This chain saw will cut anything. Bad guy for years has made a device that causes the chain saw to injure the user. Company A does nothing about this bad guy's "talents"; instead goes on to make bigger chain saws. Conclusion? I'm glad m$ does not make chain saws, and I will NOT buy a Ford [].
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Artraze ( 600366 )

      Of course scams won't go away. But even if we accept that, should we just allow scams to continue unchecked? At least arresting scammers helps raise the "price" of the operation...

      Also, for what it's worth, being scammed isn't about stupidity. The (Ponzi) scams that have been in the news tricked people whose sole area of expertise was investing, and they did it quite well (they had the millions to put in to these after all). Granted, dumb/ignorant people are easier targets, but they also don't generally

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Unfortunately, humans are quite stupid.

      Compared to? Cats? An alien race you know of but the rest of us don't? A cherrypicked group of humans?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        A cherrypicked group of humans?

        Yeah it turns out that some people are much smarter than the average person. Shocker.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I know some people here don't like xkcd, but this felt relevant []

      • Dirt
      • by Joren ( 312641 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @12:38AM (#29842861) Homepage

        Unfortunately, humans are quite stupid.

        Compared to? Cats? An alien race you know of but the rest of us don't? A cherrypicked group of humans?

        Just try getting between a cat and a plate of tuna. They are fiendishly inventive... I have a cat that, while not necessarily socially intelligent, was quite clever at solving problems. He might fit in here at Slashdot ;) - One day when I was in my last year of high school, the cat, while wondering why in the world he was not getting petted and catered to, decided it was time to take matters into his own paws. Having carefully observed me using the computer over a long period of time, he figured out how to reset my computer - never mind the fact that the front panel had been completely removed and the reset "switch" consisted of a button deeply recessed into a 7mm opening in the grating, of which there were dozens to choose from. He had to stick his claw in that specific hole, and *bam* - there goes an hour of work. He seemed to think that without that pesky English paper on my screen, I'd have more time to pay attention to him. He got a lot more attention than he bargained for that day...

        • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:40AM (#29843061) Journal

          My cat tried to achieve the same results by installing Vista.

        • You think that's bad, my cats got an e-mail from a nigerian scammer promising a cheeseburger, they mailed my credit card, social security card, passport, and library card to him.

          (They were hoping the library card would get them pickles.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by syousef ( 465911 )

          Let's just see how stupid you are shall we?

          I have a cat

          That's strike one.

          Having carefully observed me using the computer over a long period of time, he figured out how to reset my computer

          Very doubtful. I think you're anthropomorphising - strike two.

          He had to stick his claw in that specific hole, and *bam* - there goes an hour of work

          Went an hour without saving work. Strike're outta here!

        • A friend of mine had a cat (Billy) who became incontinent due to its age.

          He would still feel the urge, but if too far away from the litter box, he wouldn't quite make it in time...

          So, once he was upstairs near my friend's bedroom/home office, the litter box was downstairs, and then came that sudden urge. Billy knew full well that there'd be no way that he'd make it downstairs in time. So, quick thinking as he was, he picked the next best spot: a Micro$oft Word manual, carelessly lying on the floor...


        • He had to stick his claw in that specific hole, and *bam* - there goes an hour of work.

          You mean some people still haven't figured out that it's a good idea to save their work every 5 minutes?

    • by causality ( 777677 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:59PM (#29842497)

      Even smart people are often stupid outside their area of expertise.

      That's the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

      • by mqduck ( 232646 )

        Is it? Even wise people are ignorant out of their area of expertise.

        • by causality ( 777677 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @05:15AM (#29843791)

          Is it? Even wise people are ignorant out of their area of expertise.

          You have entirely missed my point. Wisdom is not about categories of factual knowledge. It's about knowing and understanding yourself. Our society so thoroughly fails to appreciate wisdom and so greatly overvalues cleverness and so few people are independent learners that I am actually having to explain this.

          It's a mundane, lower-level interpretation of what I said, and it fails to capture the full essence of it, but it could be rephrased this way: wise people know when they are not informed enough to make a good decision. So if it isn't their "area of expertise" (even if they DO subscribe to such a self-imposed limitation) then they know they are ignorant and they know that they need to correct their ignorance before making a decision. That's because wise people know themselves and appreciate both their strengths and their weaknesses, both their capabilities and their limitations.

          Fools, by contrast, assume that they know more than they actually do. This is usually because of what you might call arrogance but also happens because of plain old poor judgment (which is itself a weakness that can be remedied). Because they recklessly and haphazardly overestimate their understanding, they get screwed by such scams.

          Note that fools can otherwise be very clever, in that "high IQ" sense. They can accumulate vast amounts of memorized factual and procedural knowledge. They can even be the foremost experts in a specialized field. This alone does not cause them to make good decisions. To see the surprise that people show when smart people do stupid things, you'd think that this were some big mystery rather than the simple and self-evident observation that it actually is. Unfortunately, this is another thing that I would not have to explain if the difference between wisdom and cleverness were more widely appreciated in our society. The result is that we as a people are very good at complicating simple matters.

          So before responding, the wise might research that person e-mailing them and take steps to find out whether he is in fact the Nigerian prince that he claims to be. They might do a Google search and see if other people have also received similar unsolicited e-mails, which would quickly inform them about the nature of the scam. What they would not do is respond from a position of ignorance to an unknown third party about a financial matter without first performing some due diligence. Furthermore, the truly wise are honest people and for that reason, they do not expect to earn vast amounts of money for little or no work on their part and are rightfully suspicious of such offers instead of titillated by them.

          Now I know that's a rather dry response, but the beautiful simplicity (by comparison) of my original statement gets lost in even the best of explanations.

          • by smoker2 ( 750216 )
            He who knows not; and knows not that he knows not
            is a fool, shun him.
            He who knows not; and knows that he knows not
            is a child, teach him.
            He who knows; and knows not that he knows
            is asleep, wake him.
            He who knows; and know that he knows
            is wise, follow him.
            - Persian proverb
      • That's the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

        There's got to be a D&D joke in there somewhere.

    • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @12:01AM (#29842737) Homepage
      Scams have always been around, and they have nothing to do with 'stupidity'. This is a conceit of our modern age, where we are desperately anxious to call other people stupid so as to relieve our anxiety that we might not be smart by comparison. Rather, it has to do with scammers who have made a study of human nature (the profession is ancient and goes back to the dawn of time). Calling people who fall for scams 'stupid' is not correct, calling them 'greedy and trying to screw the conman' is much more correct. Consider how many people in the current 'intelligent' audience would fall for the following:

      You take an ordinary pack of 52 playing cards, spread them face up on the table, and offer to bet your victim that you can beat him at a game of draw poker, nothing wild, in which you both draw your cards from a face-up deck, taking any cards you wish. The game will be played according to standard rules except that you and he can help yourselves to any cards in the face-up deck both in putting together your initial hand and on the draw. You claim that your opponent will be unable to beat or even tie you even though each of you sees what the other man holds and even though you will allow him to go last.

      The procedure, you explain, will be as follows: You will draw five cards from the face-up deck for your hand. Your opponent will then draw any five cards he wishes from the remainder of the deck to form his hand. You will then discard any cards you wish and draw cards from the remainder of the deck to complete your hand. Your opponent may then discard nay or all of his cards. He may take any cards remaining in the face-up deck to fill his hand. If he beats you, he wins the bet. Even if he only succeeds in tying your hand, he still wins. In order for you to win the bet, you must end up with a better hand than his.

      Since your opponent gets to go last both on the deal and the draw, it would seem a sure thing for him to at least tie. After all, the best you can end up with is a royal flush, and he can tie that by taking another royal flush in a different suit. (Remember suits have no rank in poker.)

      Actually, you have a mortal lock on this one if you employ the following strategy: In selecting your initial hand, take the four tens plus any other card. Your opponent will either give himself a higher four of a kind jacks, queens, kings, or aces or he will take a straight flush. (Note that the highest straight flush he can make is a five through nine of one suit. Your four tens preclude his building a royal flush or a straight flush higher than a nine.) Either way, he has you beat for the moment.

      You now discard three of the tens and your odd card. Use that one ten to build the highest straight flush you can. For example, if he holds four aces, you give yourself a king-high straight flush. If your opponent holds a straight flush, you build a royal flush around the ten you hold. Now its his turn to draw, but there is no way he can make a straight flush as high as yours because you have killed the other three tens among the discards. Of course, your strategy will work just as well if, for some unaccountable reason, your opponent initially draws some other hand than the ones suggested above.

      Letting your opponent go last, which seems to guarantee a tie for him, actually robs him of any chance of winning the bet. Take out a deck of cards and experiment for a couple of minutes and youll see that all your adversary can do is come in second best.

      In my younger, more adventurous days, I often used this scam on a mark I had badly beaten at poker, if he still had any money left. As soon as he started bemoaning his bad luck, I would say, What do you mean luck? Youre the worst poker player Ive ever seen in my life. Its a wonder your mother lets you out of the house without a note pinned to your chest. You couldnt beat me at poker if I let you run through the deck and pick out your own hand. I would then pause as if suddenly getting an inspiration, and say, As a matter of fact, I bet you reall

    • omg it's not a silver bullet, so let's just throw our hands in the air and do nothing! i hope your not in charge of anything more important then washing jock straps.
    • It's not even necessarily outside their expertise, I thought I read somewhere that people in the finance industry fell for the Nigerian scams at a disproportionate level, or at least, a lot more than you'd think.

  • So what are the odds the "smart technology software capable of detecting fraudulent emails" is just spamassassin ?

  • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) * on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:31PM (#29842353)

    I rather enjoy getting those letters. The last one I replied that I was extremely interested but that I had recently had a dispute with my Internet Service Provider and my access to email would be shut down soon. I would be more than willing to help them if they could send $98.43 to Time Warner Cable referencing account number ################.

    There are other variations. Such as I can help them get the money out of the country but I need more money to pay my lawyer to settle some estate disputes. Buy me a ticket to Nigeria and I will come there personally. My rich family members think this is a joke and I have been cut off from the family money but I can show them if I can just get to Nigeria and show them that this is real.

    My record so far is stringing these guys along for 2 weeks. They finally give up frustrated. I actually had one of them write me back asking to be left alone and stop sending him emails.

    • A wonderful story, but please don't stop there and put those emails themselves up on the Net!

    • Classic, just classic. I got one those emails a week ago, and immediately junked it, (I think I'll go fishing in the Junk folder). I think I'm going to enjoy having Nigerian Princes paying my utilities, and bank loans.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hurricane78 ( 562437 )

      I think you would fit in well with this group: [] ^^

  • Noooo.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by u4ya ( 1248548 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:34PM (#29842369) Homepage
    Some king just died and his cousin needed my help and promised to repay me half a million dollars for my bank account information, which I sent of course, because I'm not an idiot. But just how the hell am I supposed to contact him now?
  • In other words.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rod Beauvex ( 832040 )
    In an effort to make their products look good, Microsoft paid off a bunch of Nigerian police who have known about these people for years and didn't really care.
    • You've got it all wrong. The Nigerian police have always cared; the actions they take are linked to the amount they're being paid.

      Microsoft simply paid them more.
    • In fact they did care. As this is/was the third largest industry. And so is/was likely, to feed him and his children too.

  • Ok.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:39PM (#29842401)
    Technology cannot eliminate human stupidity. What person doesn't know not to go double clicking on random EXEs, install random Active X controls, etc. yet the number of virus infested Windows boxes shows that most people don't follow that advice. Seriously, how many people think they can make millions by following the directions in these e-mails?

    The success of these e-mails is a testament to human stupidity in and of itself.
    • In that case /. should run a 401 scam email drive to soak up any stupidity money before it goes to waste to real crooks. There shouldn't be a problem- we'll be doing them a service by putting their money to good use stimulating the economy where otherwise it would go down the drain.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Suicyco ( 88284 )

      They aren't stupid, they simply don't know any better. Most people barely understand the concept of things like "executable file" and "activex control" if at all. They just click away, because thats always worked for them in the past. Its not the user that is at fault for everything that happens, even they are the cause. You can't expect everybody to understand what a trojan is just because you do. Some of the malware is very clever, I recently cleaned a slew of corporate computers infected with tons of cra

  • The "victims" of these scams aren't as stupid as they are greedy. Combine the two, and you'll understand how Wall Street works.

    • The "victims" of these scams aren't as stupid as they are greedy. Combine the two, and you'll understand how Wall Street works.

      The implication is that if you're greedy to a fault, it's because you're stupid. Otherwise, you'd see that greed as a problem and would work to change it, and in the meantime, would recognize the weakness of it and carefully guard against its exploitation (i.e. by scammers). In other words, "Know Thyself." The failure to do that is the real stupidity.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I like what you're saying, but the "smart" ones recognize its strength and work to exploit it (i.e. by scamming) to the max. Greed produces both winners and losers.

        • I like what you're saying, but the "smart" ones recognize its strength and work to exploit it (i.e. by scamming) to the max. Greed produces both winners and losers.

          If the scammers truly knew themselves, they would lose their desire for ill-gotten gain. So yes, it does work both ways.

  • 1,668,870,408 []

    I'm no rocket surgeon, but that doesn't seem like much of success rate.

  • by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @11:26PM (#29842595) Homepage Journal

    Well, there goes about a quarter of the scam email I see on my servers.

    Per HOUR.

  • Greetings, I was referring to you by my dearest friend, my name Bendo Haoraabn and I am writing you in great confidence from Nigerian prison...

  • by adageable ( 972913 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @11:41PM (#29842667)

    • Dear Mr Mubugashs,

      I am very eager to work with you in your effort. Thank you for recognizing your error and I gratefully accept your compensation. Please e-mail me further details.

      Sincerely Interoperable,

      Reply to: abuse@

      Feel free to distribute my e-mail to any of your colleagues that may wish to do business with me in the future.

    • How the buggery did you get that past the "Use less caps. It's like shouting" filter?!
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by adageable ( 972913 )
        You know, I have no real idea. Wasn't thinking about it at the time... that's the secret to beating the system ;-)
  • Given Nigeria's cash-poor economy, they probably forgot to bribe a policeman. Given that they 800 web sites, it was probably only a few servers or desktop machines. We can expect this scam to be in force until their upstream connectivity is willing to do _anything_ about such abuses.

  • by Shag ( 3737 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @11:49PM (#29842687)

    That's no eagle claw, it's just the way Wikus's hand grew back, you insensitive MNU clods.

  • I know that you will be shocked to have received this notice,but let me explain.I am Mr.Officer MUGABE AKINSO TSUKWAME with the Nigerian National Police Force,Special Internet Fraud Task Force.Following a recent raid on the offices of Mr.OLOSEGUN OBASANJO,President of Nigeria,we have secured illicit funds in the amount of FOURTEEN MILLION (US$4,100,000.00).We are certain these funds are tied to illegal fraudulent activities including electronic mail fraud,fiduciary embezzlement,and blackmail.To ensure that
  • > "Nigerian police in what is named Operation 'Eagle Claw' have shut down 800 scam web sites..."

    That leaves only 9,262,341 to go...
  • MY DEAR SIR (Score:2, Redundant)

    by jrumney ( 197329 )

    i represent the late james smith esq of lagos, nigeria. the late mr james left a substantial amount in his will to fund the development of a network of wireless sensors atop lampposts here in lagos, however due to a bug in the software that generates the front page of popular website, the money has mistakenly gone to cambridge, ma instead. i seek your assistance in paying for urgent legal counsel in your great country of america as to transfer the lawyers fees from here would take several mont

  • Aw man! That must be why the Honorable Mr. Ngoti Mbutu is not returning my calls. He happened to know my uncle, the esteemed Doctor Alfred Mookiemu, who unbeknownst to me was rich and was sitting on $9,764,546.56, when he was killed in a car crash with his whole family. Fortunately for me Mr. Mbutu was managing his account at the time of his death and found me in the International business archives. He is taking a great risk by contacting me to help me get my uncle's money. All he asked for in return was my
  • One of my alltime favorites on getting back at the scammer: []

  • I've got a feeling that Nigeria will be the next country to enter the US's list of "evil nations".
  • by Mr Z ( 6791 )
    Are you sure they closed down 800 sites, and not 419 sites? ;-)
    • closed down 800 sites, and not 419 sites?

      Its called "inflation" in the west. In Nigeria it is called "adding salt and pepper to the story". It is a big problem in third world countries.

  • Or does this part sound suspiciously like the contents of an email scam:

    "The investigation was done in cooperation with Microsoft, to help develop smart technology software capable of detecting fraudulent emails. "

    Sounds like the old BETA Email Tracking Application to me. I wonder if AOL is involved?

  • 800 Web Sites ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zedrick ( 764028 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @03:38AM (#29843457)
    This doesn't make any sense at all. The second article says it's 800 email addresses, not websites. I doubt the scammers has many websites hosted in Nigeria, if needed they usually set up accounts on European webhotels where neither Nigeria nor the Microsoft Empire has any form of jurisdiction.

    In other words: 800 email addresses somehow shut down. Wow. I bet it will be really hard for new scammers to open new accounts on gmail or, or set up a new at some cheap webhotel using fake names.
    • by smoker2 ( 750216 )
      If it was done with Microsofts help, they probably shut down the wrong sites anyway. I just tried to update WMP on my laptop, a venerable sony vaio that has a hidden partition with the OS reinstall files on. I have never installed another OS, and only reinstalled from that partition once in 10 years. It is patched up to date and not infected but I can't get WMP11 because it failed Windows Validation. A genuine untampered with install fails windows validation. But sure, they can "detect" illegal activity on
  • After all, the retards of the world must be good for something. ^^

    Look at it like this: The service that they offered, was natural selection. If you're too dumb to get such a primitive scam, you will have less money. Which is good for the rest of us, who still have their money. Because we will then have an advantage. Something that it all too rare, in this world of anti-selection, where the worst are the most supported.

    I always looked at them doing me a free service. :) If I sell my own products and service

  • This means I'm not getting all those millions from Princess Zubikila anymore? Damn police!
  • ... and we have shut down several scams. One of the companies we closed owes you money. Please send your name, address, SSN, and banking account information to me.
  • I know the Nigerian Scam Police. They keep sending me emails claiming they are the FBI.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?