by Michael Ho

Software To Catch Nigerian 419 Scammers

from the next-up-420-scammers dept

If you've ever received an email from Nigeria asking for a small sum of money in order to get millions, you know what the 419 scam is. (Or you're still waiting for a lot of money that hasn't quite shown up yet.) The '419' comes from the Nigerian criminal code section against fraud, and to prevent the scams, Nigeria is looking into using software to help track down the scammers by scanning emails for keywords. This brings up plenty of privacy issues over who determines which keywords are used and what is done with the flagged emails. And while this proposal is probably better than passing a completely new law that would probably be ineffective, the enforcement against this scam may be a bit late as scammers have modified their scams and moved to places other than Nigeria. So scams are here to stay, and although one would hope that public education could take away the incentives for scammers, there's a sucker born every minute.

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  • identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, 7 Jun 2004 @ 5:02pm

    the hard way?

    Wouldn't it be a lot simpler for the Nigerian government to have someone respond to some of these scam emails with details of a specially established bogus bank account and then nab whoever tries to get the money?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2004 @ 5:12pm

      Re: the hard way?

      Agreed - in the effort to be all high-tech, Nigerian Law Enf should still Keep it Simple.

      The under-cover buyer has worked for centuries as the number one way to catch dealers, assassins and other shady types; the 419 scammer is a great next-use for this age-old trick.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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