Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Nigerian Scammers Scammed 177

Posted by Zonk
from the who-scams-the-scammer-scammers dept.
sbinning writes "At least one Nigerian scammer has had the tables turned. A website admin retaliates against the fraudsters, with hilarious results." From The Age article: "When he found a willing victim, his anti-scam unfolded in much the same way as a typical 419 scam, promising payment only after a substantial investment had been laid down — in this case the receipt of a series of commissioned wooden carvings from a local artist. With some creative photo editing, Shiver Metimbers was able to string along his quarry with claims that the two carvings sent had mysteriously been damaged enroute, the first through a mysterious shrinking process, and the second by a rogue African hamster."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nigerian Scammers Scammed

Comments Filter:
  • by GeekLife.com (84577) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @07:42PM (#15643900) Homepage
    Wood carving scam:
    http://www.419eater.com/html/john_boko.htm [419eater.com]

    and another great one where he gets the scammer to tattoo himself:
    http://www.419eater.com/html/okorie.htm [419eater.com]
  • by pedantic bore (740196) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @07:44PM (#15643902)
    ... or so the saying goes.

    So cheating these folks should be like shooting fish in a barrel. (No surprise it's a slashdot staple.)

    • by FhnuZoag (875558) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @08:02PM (#15643952)
      Wait a minute here... Is this actually a scam in the first place? 419 scams usually do not involve work on behalf of the scammer, nor a case where they send product *first* and expect to be paid.

      Is there any chance that our website owner had just cheated the one honest artist in Nigeria? Perhaps the second email was in fact *not* sent by the first, but by a friend of the first who had been told of the opportunity by another who didn't see the target as a good one. (After all, the first reply did request that

      If you know of an artist who could benefit from our financial help and who would be prepared to produce work for us to sell or promote then please do let me know.

      It seems quite plausible that emailer number 1 took this statement at its word, and actually found one such artist. In any case, hasn't our 'anti-scammer' just managed to punish a clearly legitimately talented guy for trying to go straight? I wouldn't be surprised if our artist would really now turn to 419 scamming, given the impression of Westerners he now has, and the way in which his talent appears clearly un-appreciated.
      • Fortunately, at the end he does mention that the artist recieved some compensation for his work (although likely not much).
        • by suckmysav (763172) <suckmysav@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday July 01, 2006 @08:46PM (#15644070) Journal
          Actually, the artist and the scammer were not the same person. If you properly RTA (oops, this is slashdot, sorry) you will find that the scammer paid the artist to produce the carving in the hope that "Derek Trotter" would ultimately pay up big time in the form of a large "art scholarship".

          As for the GP suggesting that this might be a case o ripping off "the one honest artist in Nigeria", again, if you properly RTA you would learn that this all came about after the fake "Derek Trotter, Director; Trotters Fine Arts" replied to a standard 419 scam letter with something like "Sorry I'm too busy giving out $100K art scholarships right now to help but do get any artist friends you might have to contact me".

          Two days later the same scammer replied back under a different name claiming to have read about the non-existant "Trotters Fine Arts" on the internet and was interested in applying for a scholarship. From there it was game on, the scammer paid an artist to produce the works thinking some naive western art dealer would in turn pay huge money to foster the scammers non-existant artistic talent. He also ended up paying the freight costs to ship the pieces as well.

          It appears this 419 scammer has just learnt a lesson that he should already well know, that unchecked greed will make people do the stupidist things.
          • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @10:55PM (#15644357) Homepage
            Actually, the artist and the scammer were not the same person. If you properly RTA (oops, this is slashdot, sorry) you will find that the scammer paid the artist to produce the carving in the hope that "Derek Trotter" would ultimately pay up big time in the form of a large "art scholarship".

            Uhm...the article Slashdot links to says no such thing. You are thinking of the article that that article links to.

            Anyway, there is still a potential problem, as we don't know how much the artist was paid. Remember, the artist is dealing with the 419 scammer, who might not be honest with him (I doubt these people confine their dishonesty to their dealings with Europeans...). He might, for example, have told the artist about the scholarship, and offered to help the artist get it, if the artist would produce the required works cheaply (say, at materials cost) and give the 419 scammer a big cut if he got the scholarship. So, we may very well have a legitimate artist who was scammed in this thing.

          • "if you properly RTA you would learn that this all came about after the fake "Derek Trotter, Director; Trotters Fine Arts" replied to a standard 419 scam letter with something like "Sorry I'm too busy giving out $100K art scholarships right now to help but do get any artist friends you might have to contact me".

            Two days later the same scammer replied back under a different name claiming to have read about the non-existant "Trotters Fine Arts" on the internet and was interested in applying for a scholarship.
            • by suckmysav (763172) <suckmysav@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday July 01, 2006 @11:34PM (#15644434) Journal

              1) He didn't actually promise to send him money. He promised to evaluate the guys work with a possible sponsorship to follow. Yes, he did lie but it was not a lie of anything like the audacity of the general 419 scam, where many people have been biled out of thousands of dollars.

              2) He didn't take any money from the guy, who himself has later claimed to be "earning" US$45K per month from his scamming business. In fact the scammee apparently approached "Shiver Metimbers" regarding him joining his 419 scamming organisation as a collector.

              3) The guy lied about who he was and his connection to the original 419 scam letter. He lied about having "read about Trotter Fine Arts" on the internet (and no, I am well aware that the WWW is *not* "the internet" and that technically speaking reading an email is reading something "on the internet" but in a colloquial context such as this it is generally accepted that when somebody says "on the internet" they actually mean "on the web". If not the guy would have said "my friend showed me an email . . .")

              4) I have no idea why anybody would even bother trying to defend these scumbags.
              • 1) Shiver Metimbers made a clear indication, with full intention to deceive, that if the mark sent goods there was potential for financial gain. Degrees of audacity are irrelevant.

                2) Shiver Metimbers did take material goods, instead of cash. Both have value. The mark's salary claims are irrelevant.

                3) Shiver Metimbers lied about being someone he isn't and he lied about a company which doesn't exist. So both of them are liars; that does not vindicate the lying of Shiver Metimbers.

                4) I don't know why anyone wo
                • 1) Shiver Metimbers made a clear indication, with full intention to deceive, that if the mark sent goods there was potential for financial gain. Degrees of audacity are irrelevant.

                  So its technically a criminal fraud. The 'victim' is unlikely to make a criminal complaint.

                  The concern I have is that this type of thing may be putting money into the 419 scammers pockets rather than hurting them.

                  There are successful 419 scams but at this point the sheer volume of attack spam means that the pool of potential

            • Shiver Metimbers (a fake identity)

              Hang on just a damned second here. It's fake?
          • > It appears this 419 scammer has just learnt a lesson that he should already well know, that unchecked greed will make people do the stupidist things.

            Thats a pretty blanket statement, which dosn't take into account the level of weath greedy people have in the first place, nor any kind of assesment of whether greedy people often do the 'right' thing, which increases their wealth.

            This is obviously one complex story in a gazillion, but its hard to condone anti-scamming, for these reasons:

            a) the people who
          • You need to RTFA with a more critical eye. There's no proof that the artist was paid. My guess is that the scammer promised to pay the artist when he got his money. I agree with the original poster; this anti-scammer guy (I've actually been following him for a while) is going way too far, to the point where he's probably causing harm to people not otherwise involved. The saddest anti-scam he did was getting a scammer to get a bunch of local artists to draw beautiful copies of a map (incredibly labor intensi
            • by Asic Eng (193332) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @05:40AM (#15645151)
              Towards the end of the story Shiver Metimbers writes:

              ...I have been in contact with "John" posing as a fellow scammer looking for work... John told me he was making around $45,000 a month ... I was also able to discover the name and contact details of John's artist and managed to contact him to confirm he had indeed been paid for his work...

              No proof for any of this, but then again we don't have proof that anything in the story happened.

          • I applaud this guy who pulled off this scam. Some Nigerian huckster has now had the chance to see how it feels to be scammed. I personally cost Nigerian scammers money by making their spam runs fruitless. I get an average of about 1200 spams a day (now that Blue Security is shut down). However, NONE of these spams advertise Nigerian scams. This is because I complain to the provider of the email address the scammer requests replies to be sent (the one in the message). When the provider of the reply add
      • by mcpkaaos (449561) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @08:42PM (#15644059)
        From the website (but not the article):

        UPDATE - June 2006:

        Just to give some additional information on John Boko. As I write, I have been in contact with "John" posing as a fellow scammer looking for work. John has just offered me a job as just one of several of his European representatives to help cash and transfer payments from scammed victims for him. I was offered between $2,000 and $3,000 per month just for the simple job of gathering victim's payments together and forwarding the money into his bank account.
      • by RyoShin (610051) <`tukaro' `at' `gmail.com'> on Saturday July 01, 2006 @09:05PM (#15644117) Homepage Journal
        This is exactly what I was thinking upon reading the article.

        I went to the 419Eater page for it, and all the e-mails appear to have come from the same person. So, it could be that he throught that $25,000 was worth it, and actually went through the trouble of having someone make these (which, from the looks of it, were not bad.)

        However, there is always the chance that he had a friend genuinely interested in doing artwork. Considering the area he was supposedly writing from, it wouldn't be unknown for the friend to not have e-mail or regular PC access.

        The work he received might be considered theft, or conspiracy; after all, he was promising a chance at money, and someone was submitting their artwork for a chance toward that money (when there was none.) It would be the same as selling some guy raffle tickets at $5, when there is no actual raffle, let alone a prize.

        Then there was the fact that he posed as a police officer, which I believe is a felony here in the States.

        The little note at the end somewhat consoles my worries, though; it looks like the guy contacted him again to work in a scam ring.

        Don't get me wrong; scamming 419 scammers isn't inherently bad. The longer we can string them along, the less time they have to go after innocent people, and the more wary they are about making actual contact. But things like this cross the line, in my opinion; getting money or items from them is no better than them trying to get items or money from us. After all, if someone breaks into your house and steals something of yours, you can break into their house to steal it back (or steal something else!)

        To fight the wrong and win, you cannot drop to their level, lest you become what you fight.
        • However, there is always the chance that he had a friend genuinely interested in doing artwork.

          Perhaps (and others have replied to this), but the purpose of scambaiting is to create enough indirect strain on the scammer (usually through wasting their time) to make it less worthwhile.

          In the event that there was a genuine artist involved, then he/she would have learned the lesson to not trust that scammer. In fact, if the scammer had told them "I'll pay you as soon as I get money from this guy," and never p

        • "However, there is always the chance that he had a friend genuinely interested in doing artwork."

          Equally, there's always the chance that victims of the 419 scam are genuinely interested in recieving millions of dollars.
      • Hey, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...but for all that, it looks to be worth a chuckle again. Here's the original full story [nyud.net] (coral cached) that the age is reporting about.

  • by creimer (824291) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @07:48PM (#15643910) Homepage
    So where does one get a "rogue African hamster"?
  • Next up (Score:2, Funny)

    by AchiIIe (974900)
    Nigerian Scammers try to scam nigerian-scam scammers by requiring a small investment prior sending artwork that precludes another large investment
  • Not news... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by David Rolfe (38) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @07:53PM (#15643926) Homepage Journal
    Isn't this 'not news'? Scamming the 419ers has been around for a long time (nearly as long as Nigerian princes have been promising me huge sums of money).
    • Here's the first story about the 419eater: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/07/13/164 2255 [slashdot.org]
    • This is the first reverse scam that involves wood carving, AFAIK.
      • Re:Not news... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rachel Lucid (964267)
        Wood carving is only different and distinct because it requires an actual loss on the artist's part, as opposed to, say, a drawing that could be scanned in prior to delivery, or even a digital art image that could merely be emailed. Choosing WOOD in fact is part of the scam AFAIK, because it requires that the weight of said carving will incure significant fees, while allowing for a medium that is still doable to the artist, because metal requires a significant investment beforehand as well as a worse weigh
        • So wait -- scamming a scammer out of shipping and taxes is what's novel in this case? No it's not. The P-P-P-Powerbook showed us back in ... May of 2004? Earlier? Good chance it's not the the earliest example either.

          http://www.p-p-p-powerbook.com/ [p-p-p-powerbook.com]

          So to be clear -- why do I even need to say this? -- I think all the liars, cheats and scammers using the Internet should be stopped. I think it's dubious that vigilantism is necessary, and slightly ambivalent about whether it's appropriate. I'm pretty confident t
  • 419 Eater (Score:4, Informative)

    by labratuk (204918) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @07:54PM (#15643928)
    For more examples of this, people at 419Eater [419eater.com] and scamorama [scamorama.com] have been reverse scamming 419ers for years now. Oh and then there's my sig.
    • LOL - thanks for your anti-scam blog Labrat - a bit more subtle than most on 419eater - and all the funnier for it..

      oh, and Love & Kisses to you and your family :P

    • My personal favorite, that guy [deancameron.com] who played "Chainsaw" in the Mark Harmon/Kirstie Alley movie Summer School wrote a 2 man play [spamscamscam.com] from his correspondence that has had successful runs in LA and NY as well as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The show goes to the Montreal "Just for Laughs" comedy festival this month.
  • Why does the story link to a news article about the blog perpetrating this anti-419 caper? The 419eater blog itself is here:

    http://www.419eater.com/html/john_boko.htm [419eater.com]
  • by affliction (242524) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @07:56PM (#15643936) Homepage
    I don't think it is a wise decision to play jokes on these people. They are very serious about what they do. There have been at least 3 murders directly related to 419 scammers, see Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].
    • These reverse scams generally don't go to actually meeting the people they're talking with - it's mainly about wasting their time, so it's harder for them to scam real people. At least two of those murders Wikipedia notes were people going to get their money back after being scammed, not just scamming the scammers in the first place.
    • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @08:26PM (#15644016)
      Living in fear is not the way to live. Besides, one murder was the victim taking it out on a random (?) Nigerian - so the danger isn't one sided. The second murder was a man who went to Nigeria pursuing his money. I think, like terrorism, while these crimes are tragic, that the statitists are low actually experiencing them. But incidents like this make me think of Twain's essay "The Damned Human Race."

      OTOH, many Nigerian scammers think westerners are stupid and assume we are all easy money - they deserve to be taught otherwise with these pranks. I won't live in fear of thieves.

      From the wiki you linked to.

      One American was murdered in Nigeria in June 1995 while pursuing his lost money.[8]

      In February 2003, a scam victim from the Czech Republic shot and killed Michael Lekara Wayid, an official at the Nigerian embassy in Prague.[9] [10]

      A Greek man was murdered in South Africa after responding to a 419 scam.[11]
    • Don't forget about the P-P-P-Powerbook [p-p-p-powerbook.com]. The very active forum member who gave the scammer the fake powerbook suddenly disappeared not to long after the website was made.


    • These aren't even street-level thugs. If they were tough-guys, they'd find a way to get to a rich community in whatever country they could, then they'd just strong arm some loot. The very essence of this crime indicates they're not tough. The other reason it's not dangerous is the distance we're talking about. Is someone going to travel around the globe to punch you for making him look ridiculous on a web page? Rather unlikely. Especially not a poor guy from Nigeria.

      Seth
      • Re:oh, bullcrap (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 02, 2006 @04:29AM (#15645059)
        I am a scambaiter at 419eater and can tell you that your assumptions are quite incorrect - they have connections abroad. I know cases in which Nigerian scammers showed up in Houston, London, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Bangkok and Madrid (we get them on webcams by agreeing to "meet them" on a specific location). The ones that e-mail you are the lowest level idiots in Internet cafes but once they think they have a victim on the hook they pass you on higher up in the gang and you notice a significant improvement in their English.
  • Amazing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by osgeek (239988) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @07:59PM (#15643939) Homepage Journal
    7 Million dollars from Queensland alone... Isn't that just mind-blowing?

    There are some really really greedy and stupid people out there. It just serves as a reminder of how dumb people are and how isolated I must be from people like that for one reason or another. I really don't think I even KNOW someone dumb enough to fall for one of those scams.

    Where are these people? How is it that they have any money at all? It's just staggering to think that they're allowed to vote.

    It makes it fairly obvious why spamming works so well. I'd speculate that the people just dumb enough to make spamming a lucrative business are a lot smarter than the ones needed to make 419 scams successful.

    It feels like standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon, where you're just in awe at the magnitude of it all.
    • Re:Amazing (Score:3, Interesting)

      What's generally unrecognised in the world at large is the VERY REAL fact that several foreign entrepreneurs return from very dicey investment forays into Nigeria with up to 100 times their initial investment! The multitudes of successful freebooters include barely literate working-class type adventurers like laundrymen and gardeners returning home with the wherewithal to buy yachts and luxury homes, and attracting a lot of local attention due to their meteoric rise in lifestyle (which, due to their lowly b
    • I was once told by a rather rich person:

      "You will never go poor underestimating people's greed or stupidity"

      and another one:

      "It is better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission"

      Of course, the second one doesn't relate to this case...but it's and interesting take on the old 'carpe diem'
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, 2006 @07:59PM (#15643941)
    I'm truly amazed at the carvings. If they wanted they could be selling such items legitimately to the rest of the world. I wonder what an eBay auction on authentic Nigerian hand carvings would go for? :D
    • by stevey (64018)

      I can't see many people sending payment via paypal/whatever to Nigera - what with the reputation that country has (fairly or not) for scams.

      • This wouldn't be paying the Nigerians for new carvings - this would be paying Shiver MeTimbers for the carving he scammed out of the Nigerian scammer. Of course, it's hard to do that without some risk of having his name and location exposed to the scammer :-)

        As other people have commented, there's no way to tell whether the real woodcarver was paid a standard local wage for his work, or paid less or nothing with a promise that he'd be paid when the mugu paid the scammer. If *I* were a local artist in Ni

    • The artist did sell it legitimately, although he probably could have gotten more money from his work if he sold it on eBay. I like the carvings too. Hm... maybe there is a business proposition here. Someone acting as a middleman for these artists could make money while still rewarding them for their work. People are willing to pay $1000+ for such things(Specifically stone Inuit carvings, in my experience).
  • You're telling me that I can't actually make $15 million USD by helping out a Nigerian prince escape the country and seek refuge elsewhere? They really had me going! And here I was, thinking that you can't lie on the internet!
  • This website has been my favorite for a long time. I've played 2 of the games the author has tried with some success (I got a fake Western Union receipt from one). The more baiters out there, the fewer of these scams will perpetrate across the Internet.

    Someone needs to come up with a perl script smart enough to do automated baiting. It would sell really well as a sendmail/Exchange server filter. Think of the possibilities!!!

    TO PURCHASE LICESNE FOR FILTER, I NEED ACCOUNT TO WIRE MONEY TO YOU FROM LAGOS N
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How many scammers could a scammer scam if a scammer could scam scammers?
  • A question I've always wondered is why is this a Nigerian scam predominantly? Why aren't people from Liberia or Gabon or Cameroon pulling these scams. Or at least pretend to be from these other countries, so that people may think "Oh, it's not from Nigeria, it must be ligit".
    • Could simply be the result of Nigeria's huge population (128 million), and improved communications availability due to oil wealth.
    • It's not just Nigeria, I received scam mails from various countries including one from the Philippines. That last one I actually played with for a few weeks (writing as former German chancellor Helmut Kohl and his devoted secretary Verona Feldbusch) got a (really horrible) recipe for a Philippine dish involving pig's blood and a few laughs out of it.
  • The thing I don't get about scambaiting is how widespread it seems to be. Which poses one of two questions.

    Are scammers so numerous in Nigeria and other African countries that there are enough of them to get scambaited without relating their stories to each other?

    Are some of the scambait stories fake?

    That's too many uses of the word scambait for my liking, I am going for a lie down.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, 2006 @09:02PM (#15644104)
    While I'm not opposed to scamming the 419 scammers, I find the tactics used in this case to be revolting.

    Here's why.

    Contrary to what one of the earlier posters said, there are not merely one, but MANY serious and honest artists in Nigeria, who are choosing to try and make a living in a field that is not typically financially rewarding. I worked in Nigeria, with Nigerian artists, and let me tell you from experience, many are hardworking and creative, and most importantly, THEY ARE NOT 419 SCAMMERS. They certainly do not deserve to be used as pawns in a scam.

    Furthermore, many of them are quite aware of the 419 scams, and condemn them. They're quite aware that the 419 scams damage the reputation of Nigerians in general.

    Visit www.nigeria-arts.net for a good example of what's out there in the world of Nigerian arts.

    Bottom line: this Australian sysadmin and his "artwork anti-scam" scheme may have scammed an innocent third party artist rather than a 419 scammer.
    • by FroBugg (24957) on Saturday July 01, 2006 @09:14PM (#15644146) Homepage
      If you read the entirety of the original website, he claims at the bottom to have gotten in touch with the scammer through another alias, gotten the name and contact info of the artist, and confirmed that the artist was paid for the pieces (though he wasn't able to find out how much).
    • I read the article a few days before it came up on Slashdot, and I agreee. The carvings were actually very well done, the artist put a lot of effort into accurately reproducing the reference photos he (or she) had to work with.

      More than likely, the artist in question did it on spec, hoping to put food on the table for a week or more, and was promised enough at least to cover a few days for the first reproductions, only to be cut off by the scammer when the deal fell through (a common practice in business an
  • Anyone notice that, toward the end of the scam, he writes an e-mail as a police officer? Impersonating an officer is, I believe, illegal in most western jurisdictions.
    • Except *all* the names are clearly from the British T.V. comedy "Only Fools and Horses", and this includes the name of the police officer (who turned out corrupt in the series). In this context it would be difficulr for any U.K. based Judge/Magistrate/Sherif to convict. Remember people impersonate police officers all the time for T.V. shows without getting into problems.
  • While this sort of behavior is probably satisfying, it's both unwise and unethical. It's unwise because these people are criminals that may come after you to hurt you. And it's unwise because you may be breaking the law yourself. Finally, just because someone did something bad to you doesn't make it right for you to do the same to them.
    • by Dimensio (311070)
      It's unwise because these people are criminals that may come after you to hurt you.

      This would require that the criminal have a means of tracking the individual. In many cases, scam baiters use proxies when receiving deliveries, and only then if they actually accept any deliveries from the scammer.

      And it's unwise because you may be breaking the law yourself.

      To what law do you refer?

      Finally, just because someone did something bad to you doesn't make it right for you to do the same to them.

      The purpose of sc
      • And it's unwise because you may be breaking the law yourself.

        To what law do you refer?


        The scam baiters are promising payment if the other party does something. A priori, that's a contract. Depending on the circumstances, it may be valid, legally binding, and even enforceable.

        The purpose of scam baiting is not to do something "bad" to the criminal. It is to waste the time and resources that would otherwise be used to victimize someone.

        Getting people to tattoo themselves, or indirectly causing wood carvers
        • The scam baiters are promising payment if the other party does something. A priori, that's a contract. Depending on the circumstances, it may be valid, legally binding, and even enforceable.

          You are suggesting, then, that I can be legally bound to submit payment to an individual, even if that individual's request for payment is known to be fraudulent.

          Getting people to tattoo themselves, or indirectly causing wood carvers to do work that the scam baiter knows won't be paid for, is doing "something bad", not j
          • by m874t232 (973431) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @01:33AM (#15644701)
            You are suggesting, then, that I can be legally bound to submit payment to an individual, even if that individual's request for payment is known to be fraudulent.

            Up to the point of the guy getting the tattoo or sending the carvings, all that has happened is that you promised to send money in return for some action by the other person; the other person hasn't committed any fraudulent act yet, and it's only a supposition that their original request is fraudulent (rather than, say, naive or a joke).

            Why is having a scammer 'brand' themself -- of their own free will, believing that such actions will enable them to commit an act of fraud -- a "bad" thing?

            Because, whether achieved through deception or brute force, it's still a form of vigilante justice. Furthermore, when all is said and done, you have done injury to a person that hasn't actually done any injury to you--the other person might be a naive teenage kid that wouldn't even have gone through with the scam.

            These anti-scam efforts violate two basic principles of the way we administer justice: punishment and retribution is up to the justice system, and with few exceptions, we only punish actual crimes and not merely intent.

            Your second example has not been demonstrated to have occured.

            Good. In fact, those two particular scammers do look like they deserved what they got. That doesn't make the actions of the anti-scammer any less reprehensible, dangerous, or unethical. We have sleazeballs fighting sleazeballs here.
            • I'll bite...

              As far as vigilante justice goes, I think this is more like when you shake a friends hand then say "Wow your hand smells like gasoline" and then when he smells his hand you smack it into his nose. The guy getting the tattoo didn't get hurt but I would bet he remembers his dipshit action. I'm not for vigilante justice or anything of that sort but come on this is funny. He's lucky he didn't try to scam some guy who would go to Nigeria and take his own retribution.

              ~S
              • As far as vigilante justice goes, I think this is more like when you shake a friends hand then say "Wow your hand smells like gasoline" and then when he smells his hand you smack it into his nose. The guy getting the tattoo didn't get hurt

                Getting a tattoo is certainly not painless. In Nigeria, it's a potentially life-threatening thing to do. In addition, even in the US, tattoos are a valuable commodity, as several people who have sold their skin as advertising space can attest to, and botched tattoos may
  • This is probably my favorite anti-scam. The scammer, who is not poor or suffering (He has a team helping him scam people, it seems very organized), loses money, and the artist who made the sculptures got paid. And the anti-scammer is rewarded with nice sculptures.
  • I'm not sure about everywhere else ... but isn't pretending to be or impersonating a police officer somewhat illegal.

    Now whilst the rest of it was entertaining, doesn't this really compare to fighting spam by spamming the author ?

    Anyway - was entertaining reading, if somewhat on morally dubious grounds.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01, 2006 @10:38PM (#15644321)
    Once, while selling mobiles on eBay, I was propositioned by a Nigerian scammer to send him a phone in exchange for an online western union money order. (fake of course) I insisted that he set up the shipping through FedEx so that the guy would come to my house, pick up the item, and charge the shipping to him. He eagerly complied. So, I went to the FedEx website, looked up the maximum weight (50kg), and proceeded to go down to the beach with a box, shovel and bathroom scale. Once there, I filled said box with 120 lbs. of sand.

    I went to the FedEx website later to see how much shipping had cost him...$1200. I could barely hold my laughter in the middle of class.
    • by craznar (710808)
      Once, whilst walking through town, I was approached by a cheap crook who demanded I give him all my money. I insisted that I not, and managed to make an escape.

      Later I managed to find out where he lived, so I broke into his house and stole his plasma TV (rich bastard).

      I went to the police later and told them the story, and we laughed together at how justice had been done.

  • The Register (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tres3 (594716) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @01:32AM (#15644700) Homepage
    Yeah, it made TheRegister last week. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/30/419_plonke r/ [theregister.co.uk]
  • by egjertse (197141) <slashdot@@@futt...org> on Sunday July 02, 2006 @01:44AM (#15644715) Homepage
    Looks like we're victims of the dreaded 403 scam... A weird twist on the old bait-and-switch
    Right, I'll shut up.
  • by baitboy (986355) on Sunday July 02, 2006 @06:12AM (#15645202)
    Hi all, I would just like to address some of the questions and misconceptions about scam baiting that I have read on this forum.

    In no particular order:

    The ethics of scambaiting. It can seem to some that it is in fact the scammer that is the victim in this game. But if you spend nearly two years as I have wasting the time and resources of 419 scammers, you will very quickly learn that there is no depth to which they will not sink in order to get what they want. I have posed as dying, sick or unemployed characters that have responded to there mails.

    When I say that I don't have the money to send, as I need my limited funds to pay for life saving medication, they will mail (usually aggressively) to say that the money must be sent and that I can pay for all the care I need, once this non-existent deal is complete. You will be urged to commit any crime or go to any lengths to get the money they want without the bat of an eye.

    Scambaiting Innocent victims. The way we harvest their emails makes this virtually impossible. I have a special account that I use to catch them. The method basically consists of leaving your catcher email address in certain guestbooks and the 419 mail will come flooding in. I receive about 50-60 419 mails a day, and in over two years have not received one non scam mail to it. *Cough* ( Excluding penis enlargement and Viagra spam of course.)

    I can assure you that any baiter worth their salt would be quite thorough in researching anyone they had suspicions about and would drop anyone they thought was innocent. We are only interested in scammers.

    Baiter safety. There are various email providers that hide your IP address. All the information we give is made up. This includes any bank details we supply. A common misconception is that they somehow syphon of all the money from your bank account, once they have the account number. This is not true, it is simply asked for as they think that anyone willing to hand out this information is more likely to go along with the scam, It is a test of the malleability of the victim.

    Victims that have handed out their real home address and phone numbers have been threatened, and scammers from west Africa do have associates in various countries around the world that can be sent around to your home for a less than friendly chat. The cases you have read about of people being killed are those of genuine victims that were lured over to Nigeria or South Africa. To the best of my knowledge no scambaiter has ever been harmed.

    If I can sum up. It's all about free will, The scammers like their victims are free to walk away at any stage of the game. I have got a few to come clean and own up as to why that do this. The usual excuse is that they are poor and their Government is corrupt from top to bottom, so why shouldn't they be? Or they are on some kind of anti colonialist mission to get retribution for the years of western interference and exploitation that they have endured. I think they are just crooks on the lookout for easy money. I have no real sympathy for most their victims either. Although they will appeal to a victims good nature as well as their greed. They deserve anyone's sympathy.

    In regard to the carving and other similar baits. These are fun to read, but by and large are not representative of what baiting is about. The day to day lot of a baiter is trying to confuse a scammer or waste as much of his time as possible so as to keep him away from catching out the unwary.

    On the bright side the scammer probably had to pay a struggling local artist to do that fine piece of carving for him, so the result was positive all round.

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.

Working...