US Convicts Nigerian 419 Email Scammer

from the well,-if-Nigeria-won't-do-it... dept

For years, the Nigerian government has insisted that it’s cracking down on the notorious advance fee 419 scammers out there, but the scams continue. And, yes, they come from places other than Nigeria, but it really has become something of an industry in parts of Nigeria. There are even songs mocking dumb Americans who fall for the scams, and Nigerian officials have also been known to blame the victims of such scams. Indeed, many (though, not all) of these scams do play on the victim’s own greed, so there’s some element of questioning just how much of a “victim” they really are. But what’s amazing is how totally taken in by these scams most victims are. In fact, there are stories of the victims of these scams who — despite being told that it’s a complete scam — still believe that they’re just one step away from getting the stolen money owed to them.

So it’s interesting to see that the US gov’t has now convicted a Nigerian citizen of running such a scam. Apparently, he used a single email address for over ten years ( and was able to convince lots of strangers to simply hand over money to him, promising to get them a fortune in return. What’s amazing isn’t just the convincing part, but the fact that he was able to use that one email address for so long so effectively.

Every time we see stories about people falling for Nigerian 419 scams — including Harvard professors and Ronald Reagan’s neuroscientist — we’re amazed that there are still people who fall for these types of scams. However, it seems these sorts of scams have worked for generations. There’s a fantastic book called Drake’s Fortune, that covers an almost identical scam that was massively successful for a small group of scammers about a century ago. Somehow, it seems likely that we’ll still see people falling for these scams in another century as well.

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Comments on “US Convicts Nigerian 419 Email Scammer”

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Anonymous Coward says:

419 scammers are scum to be sure, but blaming the victim isn’t a bad idea either. It takes a special brand of stupid to fall for one of these.

Perhaps while going through his financial records, they can track down the “victims” and force them to go through financial responsibility training. There is a perfectly legal way to throw away large sums of money. It is called the state lottery. If you’re going to be careless with your money, you may as well give back a bit to society.

Anonymous Coward says:

I wonder if this would work? ...Yeah, it probably would

Helo sir or madamm,

I am Prince Xyxlplox of the former planett Pluto. When Pluto lost its planet status, my citizens rebeld. I wish to transfer my vast fortun of Plutonian gold to earth but I ned an account to deposit it in as I am not a citizen of Erth,, If you transfer to me a small fee of $$150 i will be able to verify your account asnd tranferr the fortune. For your help, you wil recieve 10% of my 150 Trillion $$$ funds.

-Prince Xyxlplox

Robert Ring (profile) says:

I had kinda thought these scams had mostly gone away, but then I got an email a couple weeks ago about someone wanting to contact me for “a personal financial matter involving $35 million.”

It really is mindboggling that people still fall for this crap. If I lived in Nigeria, I’d probably be writing songs about gullible Americans, too.

Danny (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I get well more than one a day, but my spam filter handles the majority of them. Two slipped through this morning, for example.

These are real emails that came in today:

This mail is to remind you of your registered package. CONTENT: Bank Draft of $720,000 USD officially registered by an Official of the United Nations. The $720,000 USD is a donation to you from the U.N through their Annual e-mails Balloting Promo. For your information the VAT and COD have been paid except the security keeping fee of $210USD and it is payable to our account department.
Please Contact FedEx
Delivery Department Mr. William Harrison for shipment details and requirements.
Tel: +2348182248485
It is mandatory to reconfirm your Postal address and telephone number:
Full Name:
Postal Address:
Yours Faithfully,
Mrs. Margaret Blair
©Federal Express Corporation
All rights reserved. © 1995-2010 FedEx.
SHELL INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT SPAIN has just concluded final draws from it’s periodical promotional program An exclusive list of thousands of individual and corporate bodies were picked by automated random computer search from the internet No tickets were sold. You emerged as one of the lucky winners and you are therefore entitled to a sum of €350.000.00 Euros Only .
See attachment for more details and procedures.

For the security purpose,a password is required to enable you view the

Password: (boy).

Dr Ellen R..Gomez,
Managing Director .
Shell Petroleum Company Spain.
No 72 Avenida Parque Grande,
Madrid Spain.

PS: If any of you get rich from one of these, please share some of the proceeds with me.

33DegreesNorth says:

LOVE 419's!

Come on, have you ever read the scam emails? They are the most entertaining emails you will ever read! Hell, I almost want to send them a few bucks just for the entertainment value alone! I collect them!

Honestly, if someone falls for one of these scams, there’s not much you can do to protect one from ones self!


anymouse (profile) says:

The next big scam.....


I’m an artist signed to a label under the RIAA, and I have recently been informed of a large copyright settlement coming my way. Unfortunately if I don’t shelter these funds from the RIAA, they will take their standard 95% cut and leave me with little to nothing for my starving grandchildren to live on. This is where you come in, if you can act as a patsy for me, I will have the settlement wired directly to your bank account, once you have received the funds, you can keep 50% for your troubles, and wire the rest to me at

Failure to comply with my request will result in you being a party to the copyright lawsuit, and you will be fined for over $40 billion dollars, because we can create data showing that your IP address was involved.

Thanks for your time,
The new MAFIA

Anonymous Coward says:

I hadn’t gotten one of those in so long I didn’t even know they still made money off them. When I still had an AOL account five or six years ago I used to get a dozen a day, but by then they’d gotten so lazy they were just cutting and pasting each other’s stuff for mass-mailing.

If we make Pluto a planet again, does that offer still stand?

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