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How The 419 Scam Works

from the very-sophisticated dept

We’ve been posting a ton of stories about the famous Nigerian money scam (also known as the 419 scam), but here’s an article that gives even more details about how the scam works (beyond the typical description that usually says “they eventually hit you up for money”). Mike Wendland, from the Detroit Free Press actually followed through with one of the scam artists right up until the point where money was required and then mentioned that he was a reporter – only to have the scam artist disappear. This is running with a second article that talks to some people who fell for the scam where they explain some of the tactics used by the crooks to steal ridiculous amounts of money. There are all sorts of scams using photographs of photocopied money, as well as shipping counterfeit money coated in black paint to trick otherwise unsuspecting people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Comments on “How The 419 Scam Works”

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Euroman says:


Mike, since when has “unsuspecting” been redefined to mean “greedy and stupid”. Nobody except a money-grubbing fool could possibly be taken in by this scam – you only have to think for a moment about the whole thing to see that it has to be a con. Paricularly when you get about 4 of them a day from different people with different names all telling teh same story!!!

D Henkel-Wallace says:

Victims deserve to be ripped off

The pitch letter even says the money is ill-gotten gains. Sure, I want to help the family of some blood-stained dictator sprit away money stolen under the last regime!

I could imagine some addled person falling for a different story — maybe the golden goose really did finally arrive! But anybody who agrees to this “419” scheme is completely amoral and deserves to be screwed.

Don Waddell says:

Coated Money

I was scammed by some people in Bangkok yesterday. There were 4 Africans involved, one claiming to be the son of the former president of Zaire. They were very convincing as we met in a posh hotel three times. The climax came when they showed me the suitcase filled with $50-100 US bills. I became unconvinced when they asked me for $5000 to pay for the balance of the solution cost and I declined. At the outset I told them that I wasn’t greedy but for costs I would try to help them move the $25,000,000 legally. Haven’t heard back from them today. I have the guy’s mobile phone number and am consdering legal action even though I didn’t fall for the scam.

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