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Fighting the Nigerian Money Scam 316

An anonymous reader writes "One of the most notorious spams, the Nigerian Money Scam, or 419, has reared its head again with the recent arrest of a California woman who embezzled $2.1 million from her law firm. However, anti-spammer Brad Christensen has apparently been having some success scamming the scammers. This exhibit contains some of his more successful exchanges. It seems he even managed to get some of the Nigerians to fly around the world to meet him. All in all, Bravo!"
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Fighting the Nigerian Money Scam

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  • Wha! (Score:4, Funny)

    by MaxVlast ( 103795 ) <maxim@s l a .to> on Sunday September 22, 2002 @05:38PM (#4308489) Homepage
    Mr. Mobutu isn't going to give me 14% of his findings!

    I gave him my account number!
    • Another 419 example (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cscx ( 541332 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @05:57PM (#4308557) Homepage
      If you want to read an exceptionally funny example of the Nigerian Fee scam, head on over to haxial.com [haxial.com] -- the results are side-splitting. This all happened last week (check the dates).
      • by John Jorsett ( 171560 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @06:27PM (#4308648)
        Funny, hell. I was hopping on one foot in my yellow suit for like an hour.
      • lol. Mode as +funny. THe part with the wife was great!
      • by sdo1 ( 213835 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @09:55PM (#4309238) Journal
        One has to assume that the Nigerian scammers are sending out millions of spam, right? They're not using unique reply-to addresses for each one right?

        In this case, the address mikeaba@mail.com is at, of course, mail.com. Surely mail.com must have gotten dozens, if not hundreds, of spam reports altering them that a mail.com address was being used for a scam.

        What I don't understand is how on earth that address didn't get taken offline by mail.com within a very short time of the original scam/spam being sent. My experience has been that yahoo.com and hotmail.com do a pretty decent job of deleting accounts of addresses that are being used a spam dropboxes. But not mail.com?

        Can someone explain what I'm missing here?

        -S
        • > In this case, the address mikeaba@mail.com is at, of course,
          > mail.com. Surely mail.com must have gotten dozens, if not
          > hundreds, of spam reports altering them that a mail.com
          > address was being used for a scam.

          Yes, probably, but...

          > What I don't understand is how on earth that address didn't
          > get taken offline by mail.com [...] Can someone explain what
          > I'm missing here?

          In terms of taking a stand against spam, mail.com is infamous
          for being very... I'll give them the benefit of the doubt
          and say they're merely lethargic in the matter. But they are
          sufficiently lethargic about it that some people have speculated
          that they may be an actual factual spamhaus.
      • I love the idea of setting aside 10% of the money for "expenses e.g. telephone costs." That's $3,000,000! They must be planning some very long calls!
  • by Paladin84 ( 176257 ) <Paladin84.yahoo@com> on Sunday September 22, 2002 @05:40PM (#4308494)
    Pfbbt, doesn't she know to hold out for the $25 million transfer like everyone else? I mean sheesh, she could have at least chosen the largest sum of money from the dozens of spam messages filling her box that day. Also, I bet she didn't even make all the payments for the transfer fees, that's why she didn't get it. ...man, some people...
  • I'm sure the next 1,000,000 posts will point this out. :-)
  • Fool of a took (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nobley ( 598336 )
    Anybody who falls for these scams deserves what they get, not only due to the nature of the scam but the amount of publicity it has received also. Naturally the scammers also need to get burnt, Sociotey has laws for a reason, use them!
  • Woman in California? (Score:4, Informative)

    by $carab ( 464226 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @05:45PM (#4308508) Journal
    I'm ashamed to say the stupid embezzler is actually from Michigan (my home state). "Detroit" and "Royal Oak" are places in South-East Michigan. Just because "Berkeley" was mentioned doesnt mean the story was from California. Sheesh.....
  • by Em Emalb ( 452530 ) <ememalb@nOSpaM.gmail.com> on Sunday September 22, 2002 @05:47PM (#4308514) Homepage Journal
    I've said it before, I'll say it again:

    Stupid people are everywhere. You would think (and that's your problem) that a perosn in a law firm would be smart enough to figure this out, or atleast get a lawyer to check it out before hand.

    SHEESH
  • That site went down awefully quickly, so here is the cache on Google [googlecache.com]
  • by thePfhitz ( 446594 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @05:47PM (#4308516)
    i mean, why bother trying to scam the scammers when you can fool with their heads [haxial.com] instead?

    sure, there's no money in it, but everyone could use a hobby!

  • oh please (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 22, 2002 @05:48PM (#4308520)
    if you fall for the nigerian money scam you are too stupid to have money.
  • Well, they are obvioulsy not the brightest. [scamorama.com]
  • by gupg ( 58086 )
    For years, white people have screwed over Africa. I guess its payback time !

    Its obviously the stupid people who fall for these kind of scams - unfortunately, as is the case here, they even screw over others in the process.

  • by rpjs ( 126615 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @05:52PM (#4308536)
    Today I got an email supposedly from the Federal Presidency of Nigeria, apologising for all the 419s I've been receiving and asking for full details of the senders and the organisations they claimed to be defrauding.

    I really don't think it's genuinely from the Nigerian gov, although it was posted from an IP address (195.166.233.102) RIPE says is allocated to a Nigerian ISP, rather than being routed through some open relay in Asia. However, I'm finding it hard to work out what the scam is. Spam quality control to see which addresses apply is the most likely reason I guess.
    • However, I'm finding it hard to work out what the scam is.

      Think about it logically... These 419 folks have stolen thousands of bucks illegally from people all over the world. They can't very well report that incometo thier own governemnt without having to pay away most of it in taxes and kickbacks, so if they happen to be *robbed* of the money, who will they call for help? I'll bet you the next wave of thieves will be those who prey on the fat scammers and suck them dry. It's a lot easier to sneak into your neighbor's house and loot thier safe than to spend months stringing along foreigners with no guarantee of reward.
    • by SectoidRandom ( 87023 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @07:49PM (#4308853) Homepage
      You're kidding me right?

      So basically your recieved a piece of *spam* saying that the previous spam that you recieved and ignored was a fraud, and now you should reply to this spam to report the perpetrators? What, are you going to give them your bank account details so that when they recover the money they can return it?!?

      Hang on, let me go back one more step..

      You actually read your "spam"?
      • I only read the ones that make it past spamassassin [sf.net], but then again, they only get about a half second of eyeball time before I see they are spam and hit 'd' (or X, which in mutt is bound to spamassassin -r to report them to the razor project :)
      • What, are you going to give them your bank account details so that when they recover the money they can return it?!?

        Gosh! What a brilliant idea, yes of course I'll do that. Funnily enough, this one didn't ask for any of *my* details, just those of the other 419 spammers. I dare say if I was stupid enough to reply to it, I'd get a follow-up saying that they'd recovered my stolen money and all they need is my bank a/c details to repay it.

        You actually read your "spam"?

        Occasionally yes, for amusement purposes. The 419s can be quite funny with the idiosyncratic African English they're written in.
      • Actually, I got a message "warning" me about this scam the other day. It did actually seem to come from a real person. But obviously, I didn't go any further.
      • At one time I had a clipping of adverts and such in various magazines that I pasted onto the inner cover of a notebook. Always fun reading. My absolute favorite?
        Are you tired of being scammed by false ads in magazines? Send $1 to
        Coalition to Stop False Advertising
        1313 Mockingbird Ln
        Munsterville, TV 12392

        I still chuckle when I think about it.

        Enjoy,
        Steven
  • by Lieutenant_Dan ( 583843 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @05:58PM (#4308559) Homepage Journal
    I think the best solution would be to let the Open Source developer community improve the efficiency of the country, thereby reducing poverty, corruption, and crime.

    By making Nigeria Open Source can we unleash the vast potential that this oil-producing country has. The enormous experience of the hardenened Open Source developers would go a long way to introduce the necessary stability in this west-African continent.

    • Bullshit. Do you see any other African country doing this? Nigeria is in fact one of the more prosperous African countries, so I don't think we can that poverty, etc. is the problem (persons in other African countries would be doing the same if that were the case). The problem seems to be Nigerian in origin, and that's something they have to solve on their own.
    • Oh yeah, I can picture the result of making Nigeria Open Source:

      From: Robert M. Stallman <rms@gnu.ng>
      Subject: Request for Urgent Business Assistance

      Your contact was availed to me by the the Lagos Linux User's Group.

      I am Robert M. Stallman, the younger brother of Richard M. Stallman. I have the privilege of being mandated by my brother's colleagues to seek your immediate and urgent co-operation to receive into your bank account the sum of US $25m.

      This money was obtained through sales of Emacs manuals in Nigeria, and as the treasurer of the Nigerian branch of the Free Software Foundation, I decided that this money wanted to be free...
  • ...scam the p0rn spammers into getting arrested? These are interesting articles, but I rarely get this types of emails. Must of the spam that I get (besides credit cards, home loans) are p0rn. I would like to see the p0rn spammers get scammed. Only if I knew of a way...
  • by Stephen VanDahm ( 88206 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @06:05PM (#4308583) Homepage
    One of the better "scamming the scammers" exchanges is documented here. [haxial.com]

    He plays along with the scammer, and when asked for a scan of his passport, he photoshops together a passport belonging to James Tiberius Kirk, complete with a picture of William Shatner in a Starfleet uniform. I can imagine someone trying to use that to get across the border....
    • Heh. This reminds me of the '90s song "Banditos". It had the following lyrics in the chorus:

      Well give your ID card to the border guard
      Now your alias says you're Captain Jean-Luc Picard
      Of the United Federation of Planets
      'Cause he won't speak English anyway
  • by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @06:13PM (#4308606)
    has to be the famous buddy weiserman. Read the entire message log as it's truly hilarious (esp. the multimedia content). Get it here [buddyweiserman.com]
  • Dear Ordinary Civil Servants,

    Well first off, let me just say that you had me at hello so to speak.
    I am a total sucker for those that write in all caps, and then you really sold
    me with the fact that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. After all, how
    many times do those come along? I'd say maybe only 5 or 6 times a year.
    You are incredibly generous to only need twnety one million five hundred thousand
    dollars. But, unfortunately I don't have that much money. I do have seventeen
    dollars and fifty-six cents. I really want you to have all of that. I hope you
    can overlook the fact that I'm several million short of your goal, but the key
    is that I try hard and I'm an excellent wind surfer.
    My company doesn't have an address as of yet, but we are really trying. If you
    would be willing to send me $500, then I can register the company name and also
    get a PO BOX for a year. That way I can have an address and then we can get this
    ball of wax rolling. In a similar vein, I don't have a bank account. I don't trust
    them. Quite frankly, between you and me, there are a lot of scammers out there
    that will just try to take your money - and I don't think either of us want
    that - we need it so that we can get RICH! Right?
    Lastly, I notice that you are a doctor. Can I ask you a question. I know that
    this started as a financial discussion, but I have a really painful burning
    rash "down there" if you know what I mean. Do you have any experience with
    this? Can you recommend anything I can do to make it go away?
    Please keep in mind that I only have just over seventeen dollars, and I want
    to give all of that to you so that I can be really really rich as soon as
    possible. So the cure for my intense burning pain needs to be free. And easy,
    I'm kind of lazy - hey, at least I'm honest right?

    So anyway, why don't you talk to your people, and I'll... Well, I'll just
    talk to myself and maybe do a little rubbing "down there" and I look forward
    to anything you can offer me - you know, on the $500 deal. I really hope you
    can come through with it - if not, I'm not sure what else to do - I guess I
    might have to get a job. Could you give me a job? Not like anything sexual -
    just one where you pay me a lot to do very little... And maybe some golf. I
    like golf - do you like golf? Maybe someday you and I can play golf together.
    We could start out doing miniature golf - your treat, and then maybe once I'm
    really really rich with your help, I can pay for my own regular golf fees.

    I can't want to hear back from you - please act fast!

    Your's,

    Johannes Kepler

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: DR .JAMES BOLA [mailto:james_b13@arabia.com]
    > Sent: Monday, August 12, 2002 10:31 PM
    > To: *
    > Subject:
    >
    >
    > FROM: DR. JAMES BOLA
    > TEL:234-1-4700390
    > FAX:234-9-2721548
    > LAGOS - NIGERIA.
    >
    >
    > ATTN: PRESIDENT / CEO.
    >
    > STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS PROPOSAL RE: TRANSFER OF
    > US$21.5 MILLION(TWENTY ONE MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND US
    > DOLLARS ONLY).
    >
    > I KNOW THIS EMAIL WILL REACH YOU AS A SURPRISE, BUT NEED NOT
    > TO WORRY AS WE ARE USING THE ONLY SECURED AND CONFIDENTIAL
    > MEDIUM AVAILABLE TO SEEK FOR FOREIGN ASSISTANCE/PARTNERSHIP
    > IN A BUSINESS TRANSACTION WHICH IS OF MUTUAL BENEFIT.
    >
    > I AM A MEMBER OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA CONTRACT
    > AWARD AND MONITORING COMMITTEE IN THE NIGERIA NATIONAL
    > PETROLEUM CORPORATION (NNPC) SOMETIME AGO; MY COMMITTEE
    > AWARDED A CONTRACT TO A FOREIGN FIRM IN NNPC.THIS CONTRACT
    > WAS OVER INVOICED TO THE TUNE OF US$21.5M. U.S.DOLLARS. THIS
    > WAS DONE DELIBERATELY THE OVER- INVOICING WAS A DEAL BY MY
    > COMMITTEE TO BENEFIT FROM THE PROJECT. WE NOW WANT TO
    > TRANSFER THIS MONEY, WHICH IS IN A SUSPENSE ACCOUNT WITH NNPC
    > INTO ANY OVERSEAS ACCOUNT,WHICH WE EXPECT YOU TO PROVIDE FOR US.
    > SHARE:
    > FOR PROVIDING THE ACCOUNT WHERE WE SHALL REMIT THE MONEY
    > INTO, YOU WILL BE ENTITLED TO 30% OF THE MONEY.60% WILL BE
    > FOR ME AND MY PARTNERS WHILE 10% HAS BEEN MAPPED OUT FROM THE
    > TOTAL SUM TO COVER ANY EXPENSES THAT MAY BE INCURRED BY US
    > DURING THE COURSE OF THIS TRANSFER, BOTH LOCALLY AND
    > INTERNATIONAL EXPENSES.IT MAY INTEREST YOU TO KNOW THAT A
    > SIMILAR TRANSACTION WAS CARRIED OUT WITH ONE MR.PATRICE
    > MILLER,PRESIDENT OF CRANE INTERNATIONAL TRADING CORP,OF 153
    > EAST 57 ST.,28 FLOOR,NY10022,TEL:(212)-308-7788 AND
    > TELEX:6731689.THE DEAL WAS CONCLUDED AND ALL COVERING
    > DOCUMENT WERE FORWARDED TO MR.MILLER TO AUTHETICATE THE
    > CLAIM.ONCE THE FUNDS WERE TRANSFERRED,MR. MILLER PRESENTED
    > HIS BANK WITH ALL THE LEGAL DOCUMENTS AND REMITTED THE WHOLE
    > FUNDS TO ANOTHER BANK ACCOUNT AND DISAPPEARED COMPLETELY. MY
    > COLLEAGUES WERE SHATTERED,AS SUCH OPPORTUNITIES DO NOT COME
    > ALL THE TIME.TO COMMERCE THIS DEAL THEREFORE, I WOULD REQUIRE
    > THE FOLLOWING:
    >
    > 1. YOUR COMPANY'S NAME, ADDRESS, TEL & FAX NUMBERS.
    >
    > 2. YOUR BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER AND ADDRESS WHERE THE MONEY WILL
    > BE REMITTED.
    >
    > THE ABOVE INFORMATION WOULD BE USED TO MAKE FORMAL
    > APPLICATIONS AS A MATTER OF PROCEDURE FOR THE RELEASE OF THE
    > MONEY AND ONWARD TRANSFER TO YOUR ACCOUNT. IT DOES NOT MATTER
    > WHETHER OR NOT YOUR COMPANY DOES CONTRACT PROJECTS OF THIS
    > NATURE DESCRIBED HERE. THE ASSUMPTION IS THAT YOUR COMPANY
    > WON THE MAJOR CONTRACT AND SUBCONTRACTED IT OUT TO OTHER
    > COMPANIES. MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, BIG TRADING COMPANIES OR
    > FIRMS OF UNRELATED FIELDS WIN MAJOR CONTRACTS AND
    > SUBCONTRACTS TO MORE SPECIALIZED FIRMS FOR EXECUTION OF SUCH
    > CONTRACTS.
    >
    > WE HAVE STRONG RELIABLE CONNECTIONS AND CONTACTS AT THE
    > CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA, AS WELL AS THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF
    > FINANCE AND WE HAVE NO DOUBT THAT ALL THE MONEY WILL BE
    > RELEASED AND TRANSFERRED IF WE GET THE NECESSARY FOREIGN
    > PARTNER TO ASSIST US IN THIS DEAL. THEREFORE, WHEN THE
    > BUSINESS IS SUCCESSFULLY CONCLUDED WE SHALL THROUGH OUR SAME
    > CONNECTIONS WITHDRAW ALL DOCUMENTS USED FROM ALL THE
    > CONCERNED GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES FOR 100% SECURITY.
    >
    > WE ARE ORDINARY CIVIL SERVANTS AND WE WILL NOT WANT TO MISS
    > THIS ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY TO GET RICH. WE WANT THIS
    > MONEY TO BE TRANSFERRED TO THE OVERSEAS ACCOUNTS FOR US,
    > BEFORE THE PRESENT DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT STARTS AUDITING ALL
    > FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OWNED MINISTRIES. PLEASE CONTACT
    > IMMEDIATELY THROUGH MY TEL / FAX NUMBER WHETHER OR NOT YOU
    > ARE INTERESTED IN THIS DEAL. IF YOU ARE NOT, IT WILL ENABLE
    > ME SCOUT FOR ANOTHER FOREIGN PARTNER TO CARRY OUT THIS DEAL.
    > BUT WHERE YOU ARE INTERESTED, SEND THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
    > AFOREMENTIONED HEREIN THROUGH MY ABOVE FAX NUMBER AS TIME IS
    > OF THE ESSENCE IN THIS BUSINESS. I WAIT IN ANTICIPATION OF
    > YOUR FULLEST CO-OPERATION. YOURS FAITHFULLY, DR.JAMES BOLA
  • There used to be a 'investigators' program on telly here, & it seemed that every week they'd have some pensioner get ripped off his life savings, buying into a get rich quik scam.

    You think when some salesman tells someone about some scheme promising a 30% return every month, that the normal response would be 'well the scheme obviously doesn't work, otherwise why do you need to go arround selling the scheme to others. If it worked you'd be living it up & taking it easy while keep the scheme secret amongst yourselves.' Afterall why would one go arround trying to make money selling schemes if a scheme is so good? wouldn't they be in the scheme instead?

    Consequently if someone's so greedy that they let their greed get ahead of their commonsense, & they then buy into a get rich quick scheme, then they deserve being ripped off.

    It's simply karma's way of punishing the greedy. So IMAO there should be a clause in consumer protection laws, where if commonsense says a scheme is too good to be true, then there's no consumer protection for the gullible conned by them.
  • by MavEtJu ( 241979 ) <slashdot@@@mavetju...org> on Sunday September 22, 2002 @06:27PM (#4308649) Homepage
    Don't forget Buddy Weiserman [buddyweiserman.com]! It's a great story.
    • I laughed myself silly at that one. Not that I read anything on the site, just at the idea that someone has to go through life with a name like Buddy Weiserman.
  • WRONG STATE! (Score:3, Informative)

    by zentec ( 204030 ) <zentec@@@gmail...com> on Sunday September 22, 2002 @06:28PM (#4308652)

    Re-read the article, it's a Rochester Hills Michigan woman, working for a law firm in Berkley Michigan as posted at www.freep.com. Also known as, the Detroit Free Press.

  • by thelinuxking ( 574760 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @06:29PM (#4308653)
    Instead of getting a 419 Nigerian scam, I get a 404 Forbidden!

    Coincidence? I think not.
  • by Moorlock ( 128824 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @06:31PM (#4308657) Homepage
    It will probably not come as a surprise to know that the "Nigerian Scam" predates the internet and really, in its essential form, predates Nigeria. If you're interested in historical examples of this sort of thing, you might want to check out sniggle.net [sniggle.net]'s Scams [sniggle.net] page.
  • by nordicfrost ( 118437 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @06:33PM (#4308668)
    The paper I work for had a story about two people that got suckered in this kind of scam.... A business executive and a lawyer. The story is here! [www.vg.no]. Sorry, it is in Norwegian only.


    Anyhoo, I guess it isn't just daftness that bring people into this kind of scam. Some get so focused on the prize, they never connect with their reason... In the linked story, a German buisnessman also attended meetings with the nigerian scammers, but realzied what was going on and left the meeting. The Norwegians weren't actually fooled for a lot of money, but rather used in a check fraud. This guy acutally had some 10 million dollars, because he cashed the false chack from the nigerians. Unfortunlately, he transfered most of the money to an account abroad and the he and the nigerians were caught.


    So, don't let the greed rule ya!

  • Notice the lawfirm says that the lady in question did not have authorization to do wire transfers from the company accounts, and the bank manager who authorized all the transfers should have known this.

    From the sounds of it, that could put the bank at fault.

  • ...WHY NIGERIAN SCAMMERS ALWAYS (ALWAYS!) WRITE IN ALL-CAPS.

    These are pretty much the only messages I get written in all-caps.
    Even the Korean spam I get uses a better writing style.

    And all of the responses that the folks linked here got are written that way.

    Are Africans for some reason obliged to write in all-caps?

    P.S.: Slashdot's lameness filter stopped from writing this post in all-caps. So much for attempted humour.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @07:31PM (#4308814) Journal

    As great as it might sound to make a bunch of spammers fly around the world, a reminder is in order.

    These are crooks. They break laws. They're not nice people. They might be desperate. If they get mad, they might kill you.

    OK, maybe you think you can conceal your identity. Maybe you think your black belt or that Beretta you carry under your suit jacket will pull you through in a pinch. Are you willing to bet your life on it?

    If this gives you even the least ammount of doubt, just leave it up to the pros--FBI, etc.

    • Ummmm, let me get this straight:

      You believe that these people tath scam money online, and are wanted criminal in the US will track down your real identity. An interesting feat in many cases since your ISP isn't going to give that out to someone from Nigeria. Then they'd have to either come to the US themselves, get a gun, and compe after you, OR put a hit out on you (costing thousands of dollars). Either way they have now suddenly put themselves at far greater risk since murder is something we go after a lot harder.

      Not bloody likely. These guys are out to defraud, not to kill. Most crooks that do scams like this are not the gung-ho type, hence why the hide behind scams.
      • Of course your ISP isn't going to give out your identity. OTOH, how secure are your ISP's servers? How do you know that the "Nigerian" isn't a psychotic Russian mobster, or some guy just down the block with 25 bodies burried in his basement? How do you know how a criminal is going to react when you cost him money instead of the other way around? Has your ISP applied the latest patch to avoid whatever script-kiddie hack du jour is floating around? Are you willing to bet your life on it? I have to reiterate: NEVER TRY TO SCAM A SCAMMER. I think this is part of most government FAQs on the subject. By scamming the scammer, you are putting yourself in the criminal's world. They are comfortable there. Are you?

        These guys are out to defraud, not to kill

        So let me get this straight... you divine the motive and character of some criminal you've never met, and conclude he's harmless? That's poor security practice at best; a fatal mistake at worst.

        • I have to reiterate: NEVER TRY TO SCAM A SCAMMER.

          I have to agree with your sentiments about not trying to scam a scammer but I don't think you should be showing them that you're afraid of them. Who knows. They could be watching us right now?

          Scammers are rational business people, they act out of their economic self-interests. They wouldn't hurt me or you unless there was a logical economic benefit. On a side note, I was almost attacked once in Budapest for trying to explain to the crowd that they were being scammed. When I started explaining things, most people in the crowd started turning on me. It turns out most of them were part of the scam too.

      • There was a Norwegian guy who took the bait some ten years ago (this was snail mail). He went down to Nigeria and was killed by these crooks.

        While you're probably safe in front of you computer, you should probably not play games with them.

        But don't bother forwarding the spam to the police. They've got tons of it, and they're not interested.

  • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @07:34PM (#4308822) Journal
    Dear Valued Customer,

    We would like to cut you in on a deal that will earn you a very fast computer with Windows for only $900. What we need you to do is go to your local store and buy our X-1000 PC for $1,500. Don't worry about the price. We will reimburse you. Remove your X-1000 PC UPC code and mail it to us with your name, address, date of birth, social security number, household income and preferred shoe size, and we will send you a check for $600.

    Sincerely. XXXXX Marketing Department
    So he buys the PC, clips the UPC and sends them his data. But no check arrives. Not even a burly, ill-tempered Czech mafia guy with a baseball bat. So he writes to them demanding his check, or Czech.
    Dear Valued Customer,

    You did not provide the proper X-1000 UPC code in your mailing. Please send us the correct UPC code and we will send you your check.
    So he writes them back and tells them there are no other UPC codes on the PC.
    Dear Valued Customer,

    We are sorry to inform you that you have apparently purchased the wrong computer, and since you have removed the UPC code, you cannot return yours to the store. We do not keep UPC codes we receive on file, so we cannot return it to you. We recommend you go back to the store and buy the correct X-1000 PC. If you send us the correct UPC code this time, we are authorized to send you a check for $700 since you purchased two computers. Please hurry, as this offer is only good for 60 days.
    Sound familiar? There's a thin line between 419 scams and "accepted American business practices." Either way, there are plenty of gullible people just waiting to be exploited.
  • Bravo? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    It seems he even managed to get some of the Nigerians to fly around the world to meet him. All in all, Bravo!

    So, let's see: The Nigerians have scammed at least one person to the tune of $2.1 million dollars. However, they had to make a few useless flights around the world.

    Gee, as scams go, they seem to be ahead, so I imagine the Nigerians are saying "Bravo!"
  • by Edward W. ( 219230 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @07:45PM (#4308846)
    I wouldn't want you folks to think that all of these "Out of Africa" scams involve Nigeria. I got an African scam e-mail a few days ago that claimed to be from the Congo. Here it is:

    FROM: MR TEMI JOHNSON
    DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.
    EMAIL:temijohnson@rediffmail.com
    TEL:44 7775770781(SATELLITE PHONE)
    Dear Sir,

    SEEKING YOUR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE.
    Please Permit me to make your acquaintance in so
    informal a manner. This is necessitated by my urgent need to reach a
    dependable and trust wordy foreign
    partner. This request may seem strange and
    unsolicited but I will crave your indulgence and pray that you view it
    seriously. My name is MR TEMI JOHNSON of the
    Democratic Republic of Congo and One of the close aides to the former
    President of the Democratic Republic of Congo
    LAURENT KABILA of blessed
    memory, may his soul rest in peace.

    Due to the military campaign of LAURENT KABILA to
    force out the rebels in my country, I and some of my
    colleagues were instructed by Late President Kabila
    to go abroad to purchase arms and ammunition worth of
    Twenty Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars only
    (US$20,500,000.00) to fight the rebel group. But when
    President Kabila was killed in a bloody shoot-out by one of his aide a day
    before we were schedule to travel out of Congo,
    We immediately decided to divert the fund into a private security company
    here in Congo for safe keeping. The security of
    the said amount is presently being threatened here following the arrest
    and seizure of properties of Col. Rasheidi Karesava
    (One of the aides to Laurent Kabila) a tribesman, and some other Military
    Personnel from our same tribe, by the new
    President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the son of late President
    Laurent Kabila, Joseph Kabila.
    In view of this, we need a reliable and trustworthy foreign partner who
    can assist us to move this money out of my country
    as the beneficiary.
    WE have sufficient ''CONTACTS'' to move the fund under Diplomatic Cover to
    a security company in the europe in your
    name. This is to ensure that the Diplomatic Baggage is marked
    ''CONFIDENTIAL'' and it will not pass through normal
    custom/airport screening and clearance.
    Our inability to move this money out of Congo all
    This while lies on our lack of trust on our supposed good friends (western
    countries) who suddenly became hostile to those
    of us who worked with the late President Kabila, immediately after his son
    took office. Though we have neither seen nor
    met each other, the information We gathered from an associate
    who has worked in your country has encouraged and convinced us that with
    your sincere assistance, this transaction will
    be properly handled with modesty
    and honesty to a huge success within two weeks. The said money is a state
    fund and therefore requires a total
    confidentiality.
    Thus, if you are willing to assist us move this fund out of Congo, you can
    contact me through my email address above with
    your telephone, fax number and personal information to enable us discuss
    the modalities and what will be your share
    (percentage) for assisting us.
    I must use this opportunity and medium to implore You to exercise the
    utmost indulgence to keep this Matter extraordinarily
    confidential, Whatever your Decision, while I await your prompt response.
    Thank you and GodBless.

    Best Regards
    MR TEMI JOHNSON

    This sounded to me like such a good deal that I immediately sent the following reply:

    Mr. Johnson:

    No need to negotiate on the terms. We both recognize that your intentions are less than honorable, and we likewise both recognize that both of us are motivated by greed. My terms are these: 37.5% of the total, a new Mercedes S-Class V-12 (fully equipped) discretely purchased from a local dealer that I will specify, and a two-week all-expense-paid trip to Norway and Switzerland (there to establish a new bank account). Take it or leave it.

    My daytime phone number is (218) 246-2776. Do not call me at home in the evening. I do not keep my wife advised on private matters of this nature, if you get my drift.

    EW

    The phone number I sent is actually that of the local District Attorney's office. So far, I have not received a reply

    • CONFIDENTIAL U.K. FAX NUMBER: 44-870-1309342

      Dear Sir,

      Pardon me for starting this great proposal this way as it might surprise you. My name is Yuvraj
      Kailash a native of Nepal and attorney to the late king of Nepal who died as a result of loss in
      temper caused by an argument between him and his family, as they were against him marrying his
      fiancée .You were recommended by a close confidant. Who assured us of your capability and
      reliability to assist us. We seek the assistance of someone who is genuinely interested in
      entering into a business relationship with long term focus, and willingness of a kind heart to
      help.

      If you are conversant with events in Nepal in May/June last year 2001, (June 1 2001), the media
      was filled with reports that Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal had shot and killed several members of
      the Nepalese Royal Family, among whom were his parents King Birenda and Queen Aiswarya, before
      trying to kill himself.

      Prior to the late kings death (Prince Dipendra), he kept aside a secret amount of money, for his
      fiancée (Miss Divyani Rana) worth over US$30,000,000.00(Thirty million United States Dollars).
      This was made in the heat of misunderstanding between him and members of his family. The money was
      kept away in such a way to prevent any member of his family from having any access or trace to the
      funds, which was just a part of his wealth, this was like a gift to his fiancée and a further
      affirmation to her that he was surly going to marry her, even though, his family was against their
      marriage. We have kept this a secret for sometime now and feel this is the right time to execute
      this transaction.

      The death of my late boss, left us stranded, we have therefore been searching for a genuine and
      reliable person or company of trust and with whom the Nepalese Royal Family have never had any
      previous, personal or business relationship with. That person will assist in the transfer and
      business re-investment of this money. We cannot do it alone due to our present social status. We
      also intend to give you a reasonable share of the funds for your assistance. These funds have been
      hidden away, known only to his fiancée and myself. We would want you to safeguard this fund from
      being clamped down by any body or agencies.

      As soon as we receive your letter of acceptance/acknowledgement, I shall give you more highlights
      on this transaction.

      THIS IS A RISK FREE TRANSACTION AND MUST NOT BE REVILED TO ANYONE NOT EVEN YOUR LAWYER, ATTORNEY,
      FAMILY, FRIENDS ETC. If you are capable and trust worthy and can keep to our instructions to make
      the above Proposal a reality.
      Then CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY ONLY THROUGH OUR CONFIDENTIAL U.K FAX NUMBER: 44-870-1309342 AS
      INDICATED ABOVE

      DO NOT REPLY US BY EMAIL. Please indicate in your reply your PERSONAL/CONFIDENTIAL TELEPHONE
      NUMBERS, CELLULAR OR MOBILE NUMBER, CONFIDENTIAL FAX NUMBER AND YOUR CONFIDENTIAL EMAIL ADDRESS
      when replying.

      ONCE AGAIN, PLEASE DO NOT REPLY BY EMAIL. Your Reply Should be by Fax only to 44-870-1309342
      (United kingdom)

      GOD BLESS YOU.

      Yuvraj Kailash

  • People shouldn't be able to accumulate $2.1m before demonstrating their complete incompetence. Obviously, the Nigerian Money Scam didn't reach these people in time to demonstrate their complete inability to deal with money before substantial amounts were involved. If the spam had reached the woman when she was in college, or the lawyer's roomate when he was in law school, maybe neither of them would have made it through school, and they would be doing something safely removed from handling large amounts of money. The clear antidote to that is more spam, not less; give people the opportunity to remove themselves from the economy (or gene pool, as the case may be) early, before they can do too much damage. It's safer for the rest of us. Really.
  • man, i really wish i'd get one of these letters so i could have some fun as well.

    im jealous... what fun to break up the day... answer and lead on some scam artists!

    here's my angle. why not at some point in the transaction make the pivotal part of it that you need to fly there (but a ticket), but you need 200 bucks more to go.

    SEE IF YOU CAN GET THEIR CASH!

    that would be the crowning achievement. you have your mission... fufill it!

  • According to the U.S. Secret Service [secretservice.gov]: """If you have been victimized by one of these schemes, please forward appropriate written documentation to the United States Secret Service, Financial Crimes Division, 950 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20223, or telephone (202) 406-5850, or contact by e-mail.

    If you have received a letter, but have not lost any monies to this scheme, please fax a copy of that letter to (202) 406-5031."""

    -m
  • by Nathdot ( 465087 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @08:40PM (#4308964)
    ...if it affords them enough money to purchase keyboards with <SHIFT> and <CAPS> keys.

    I mean, for we who are so fortunate as to be blessed with the choice between lower and uppercase letters to sit back and point the finger... ...Well it's just hypocritical to think we would not be driven to such means in the same circumstances.

    For shame people, for shame.

    CONFIDENTIAL MESSAGE TO MIKE ABA:
    I WILL BE FORWARDING YOU MY ACCOUNT DETAILS POST HASTE. YOUR DAYS OF FORCED SERVITUDE TO THE UPPERCASE WILL SOON END MY DEAR FRIEND. HOW IS YOUR FINE FAMILY DOING? PLEASE IGNORE THE NEGATIVE VOICES OF THESE SLASHDOTTERS. THEY ARE NOT GOOD CHURCH GOING FOLK LIKE US. BLESSED BE, MIKE. NATHDOT
    • This is kind of off topic, but I'd like to point out why some people type in all caps all the time, and with no punctuation. People who can't speak, or can't hear need to use the telephone too. Because of this need, there is a government system to provide Telephone Relay service. Telephone relay devices have no lowercase mode. ALL TEXT IS IN CAPS. In addition, no punctuation is used, because speaking is generally faster than typing, so they take any number of shortcuts to type faster. So you end up producing a class of people who cannot type in lowercase, or shift, or use punctuation. Then there are the people like me, who have no good excuse, and simply use english inncorectly, but generally, the people who talk in all caps (and aren't novices) have had some experience with telephone relay work.
      I know people who can type 60 words per minute, with no punctuation, in all caps, but couldn't type worth shit using punctuation or in lower case.
      So before you complain, maybe you should write a perl wrapper for TDD enabled devices to punctuate and case correct for people so that eventually they learn the right way to type.
  • by Linuxathome ( 242573 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @09:40PM (#4309174) Homepage Journal
    I'm am willing to bet that some of this multi-million dollar scam is going to "perpetrators of terror," especially after hearing countries like Siera Leone is involved. Hey, NSA, FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and US Postal Police, and all pertinent law enforcement agencies, listen up! If you're reading this, you need to work overtime to follow every single lead that a victim of this scam sent to you. This is a great way for terrorists to "hide in numbers" and get funding for their weapons. It doesn't take much money to finance these scumbags. Maybe instead of the DEA running ads about how drug money funds terrorists, there should be commercials of how gullible idiots can do the same by falling for these stupid scams!
  • by Madman27 ( 464666 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @09:47PM (#4309207)
    A few months ago, I had an offer from this Dr. Fafa dude in Nigeria. He wanted me to hold onto $21,320,000 for him. I told him that since I live in Canada, I needed to know how much that would be in Canadian dollars. He wrote back and said it'd be $21,319,999,998.44 Canadian. Near as I can tell, he musta multiplied by a thousand, and since the U.S./Canada exchange rate at the time was $1.56, he then SUBTRACTED $1.56 from $21,320,000,000. Of all the Nigerian scam artists, I have to deal with the Dan Quayle of the bunch.
  • I don't buy it .... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vlad_petric ( 94134 ) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @09:57PM (#4309241) Homepage
    Indeed, there are a lot of idiots in this world ... but I don't think that an accountant could do that, unless there was some money for her as well. Think about it ...

    You steal ~2mil $ from your company and wire it to offshore accounts. When the fraud is discovered, claim idiocy and stay 3 years in prison. But after 3 years you are with 2 milion $.

    The Raven

  • by serutan ( 259622 ) <snoopdoug&geekazon,com> on Sunday September 22, 2002 @10:45PM (#4309414) Homepage
    Why get upset?? This guy [rantsinyourpants.com] decided to turn the Nigerian Spam Scam into a contest. You forward the emails to him, he adds up the amounts promised to you. I'm currently in about 10th place with $82 million. There's no prize, it's just for fun.

    And Slashdot already posted this entertaining saga [haxial.com] of someone who pretended to go along with it to see what would happen. Hilarious.
  • I wonder if there are advisory sites that give potential scammers information about what to look out for when scamming people. E.g. Don't give your targets any money until they have given you their account details, or maybe a few clues about how to know you're having your chain totally pulled.
  • "Everything I needed to learn about Scamming you out of all your money I learned on Slashdot."

    But since it's only tangential to this nigerian scam topic I've created a journal entry. [slashdot.org]
  • Gross Stupidity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chasuk ( 62477 ) <chasuk@gmail.com> on Monday September 23, 2002 @12:59AM (#4309792)
    In 1991, I received a letter from a Nigerian gentleman making me an offer too good to be true. I showed it to my friends, we laughed about it, all the while wondering whether there was anyone alive actually stupid enough to fall for such an obvious con.

    Apparently, there are more stupid people than even my cynical self would have believed.

    The question is: why? The alarm bells should have been ringing so loudly inside the head of this stupid embezzling bitch that it was deafening.

    I get stuff forwarded from well-meaning friends all of the time about Proctor & Gamble's connection to Satanism, JATO rockets and 1967 Chevy Impalas, Neiman-Marcus cookie recipes - each story obvious bullshit, but they get forwarded anyway, and repeated by the gullible, endlessly, countlessly.

    Why? Not all of the unwitting spreaders of these tall tales are stupid, but they do seem to lack any critical faculties.

    Is this something that should be taught at school for those who don't just innately get it? CAN it be taught?
  • A few years back, there was this really cool scam. Some guys got the idea that if they sold copies of a free operating system, they'd have something that looked like a big-time computer company. So they got it going and took the company public with an IPO. The suckers put a ton of money into their company. Then the stock price went down by over 99%, but the insiders had cashed out by then.
  • I have helped dozens of itinerant Nigerian millionaires move their cash, nicest people you'll ever want to meet. Ms. Abachi is a real peach, I've probably assisted her 10 times now. She's always forgetting she can't take her money back into Nigeria after we've gone through all that trouble getting it out! Anyway, I'm now a millionaire many times over, and am thinking of teaching others this remarkable system. Any one know a good way of marketing it?
  • Many funny scams, some interesting articles on gambling, and of course, a link to the author Jay Adkisson's corporate website, www.falc.com [falc.com].

    So what does Mr. Adkisson do, you ask? He is an attorney specializing in asset protection. If you are a wealthy Enron executive with creditors barking at your door, he is the man to see, although he charges $50,000 up front if you are stupid enough to contact him after you have claims against you (he's more at risk for helping you.)

    From his website, he seems honest and aboveboard, ethical even. He gives out a large amount of detailed information for free, but of course, anyone needing his kind of services needs a lawyer, not a do-it-yourself manual.

    His business is protecting assets from financial and legal risk. It sounds good, until you realize that this is the systemized creation of externalities, which are a downfall of free markets.

    Externalities, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, are those costs of doing business like pollution, illness, or global poverty, that people other than the businiss have to pay for.

    So is he helping people evade legitimate responsibilities? He is ethical enough to address the question on his own site [falc.com]

    But much of his website makes me think he is helping top CEOs figure out how to protect assets from seizure by creditors before those creditors even know they need to be worried about seizing assets. If so, he is a worse scam artist than any Nigerian.

  • by prostoalex ( 308614 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:28AM (#4309976) Homepage Journal
    There is a need for a database that collects information on various scam artists and fraudsters. And I don't mean just the 419 scam. eBay frauds, PayPal schemers, auction sellers who want their money for cheap digital camera wired to Indonesia or Eastern Europe, etc.

    The database needs to be open, i.e. anyone is allowed to submit information to it, but it also should allow anyone to provide detailed explanations in case of libeling, as this kind of database can certainly be misused and forged. I'd agree to even pay some nominal amount, let's say, $10 per year, to be able to do a search and find information on the guy I am planning to buy a $999 item from with eBay's help.

  • > BUT NEED NOT
    > TO WORRY AS WE ARE USING THE ONLY SECURED AND CONFIDENTIAL
    > MEDIUM AVAILABLE TO SEEK FOR FOREIGN ASSISTANCE/PARTNERSHIP
    > IN A BUSINESS TRANSACTION WHICH IS OF MUTUAL BENEFIT.
    Secured? Confidential?
  • I've been getting that same email.. the one where you give them your checking account number and you get to help them transfer lots of cash and make a bit for your self.

    Of course, I know it was a scam the first time I saw it, and have seen it come and go over the last 8-10 years in different forms.

    So one day I decided to start fowarding these to the FBI. Afterall, they had a return e-mail, a phone and a fax number.

    I'm not going to fall for it, but my guess is people do, so the FBI should start looking into it.

    But it doesn't seem as if they have. What, some lady falls for it and looses over $2 million of her companies cash, and the FBI says 'oh wow, well that's a big deal I guess'.

    Um, that's just terribly disapointing. How hard would it be to set up a dummy account, work in colaberation with Interpool (or whatever international police agency would have authority), and throw these fuckers in jail? Why does it take one niave person to waste millions of her companies assets before it becomes an issue?

    Man, I love my country, but gosh, I wish our law enforcement was a little more proactive.

  • I got snailmail letters with essentially the same scam from Nigeria 20 years ago. For some reason the scammers would use lists of professional societies. I find it difficul to believe people would fall for one of the oldest and most transparent scams, but it soes happen now and then. Sixty Minutes interviewed some people who actually fell for it.
  • in Canada (Score:3, Informative)

    by rakerman ( 409507 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @09:56AM (#4311575) Homepage Journal
    You should forward all "nigerian scam" emails to wafl@phonebusters.com

    This rather unintuitive email address stands for "West African Fraud Letters". PhoneBusters.com is a joint effort between various Canadian policing organizations. And sometimes they catch people, which is nice.
  • About a year or so ago I got a snail mail version of this scam - yes, a physical letter in my mail box.

    But that was before I ever saw it in email - so I didnt think twice aboutthrowing the thing away...

    Has anyone else received the nigerian fortune letter in your meatspace inbox?

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