by Mike Masnick

What Honest Nigerians Can Do to Stop Nigerian Spam?

from the questions-questions-questions dept

We've written about "Nigerian" 419 advance fee scams quite a bit around here -- sometimes pointing out how little has really been done to stop them. Now, a Nigerian Techdirt reader named Seun writes in to point out "A discussion by honest Nigerians about what they can do to reduce the incidence of scams coming from their country has been started on a large Nigerian Forum. Techdirt readers are invited to contribute to this discussion. 'We want to make the scams stop so we can be trusted again. We don't want to be left out of the Internet revolution taking place all over the world.' " Anyone have anything worthwhile to contribute? Personally, I'm in the middle of reading the book Drake's Fortune, which is about the equivalent of the 419 scam from nearly a century ago: people buying into the non-existent fortune from Sir Francis Drake's non-existent estate. It has all the elements of today's 419 scams -- and it went on for years and years, with some people never convinced they were actually conned (just like we hear about these days). It seems like there are always going to be these types of scams, and there are always more greedy and gullible suckers to fall for such scams.

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  • identicon
    Just one guy, 21 Nov 2005 @ 12:44am

    That's the false reverse implication again

    I can't offer any specific help, except to note that this is a case where the false reverse implication is at work again: "since all scammers are Nigerian, then all Nigerian are scammers".

    You can find it everywhere: since all rapers are male, then all male are rapers, since all drug addicts have used soft drugs before switching to hard ones, then all users of soft drugs will become addicts, etc etc. ad nauseam.

    We Italians have passed through this in the past (since all mafia people are Italians, then all Italians are in the mafia), and I am not quite sure how (and, actually, whether) we managed to cancel this idea. I am just noticing that there are 128 millions of Nigerians and, I don't know, 200, 300, maybe 1000 scammers in total. Make it even 5000 scammers, this makes one every 25000 Nigerians: not exactly an epidemic! :-)

    Besides, my daily quote of 411 scams does not necessarily come from Nigeria: I have been offered quite recently to partake the fortunes of departed South American politicians, Russian tycoons, and a number of other odd nationalities. Also, at least once a week I win some incredible amount of money in Dutch lotteries I never knew I was participating. How lucky must I be?

    Just one guy (Italian, male, and soft drug user, so not exactly trustable!)

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

  • identicon
    Boo, 21 Nov 2005 @ 1:49am

    Arrest them

    I read a blog once where some guy living in africa received one of these and played along pretending to set up the deal. he eventually arranged to meet him at an airport and took a photo of him and gave it to the authorities.
    If there was a policing address we could forward all this crap to, where they would arrange sting operations on them, the motivation for perpetrating these scams would be drastically reduced.

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

  • identicon
    Seun Osewa, 21 Nov 2005 @ 6:00am

    Some Suggestions Already Recieved

    1) Reporting scam e-mails very aggressively (because we receive them too).

    2) Scam baiting - I don't think this is very safe.

    3) Promoting the honest Nigerian businesses and websites out there, to draw people's attention away from the badd guys.

    4) Reporting known scammers to the authorities.

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

    • identicon
      Just some guy, 21 Nov 2005 @ 9:53pm

      Re: Some Suggestions Already Recieved

      One of my friends signed the spammer's email adress up for spam as payback. That seemed to work for him.

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

  • identicon
    rightnumberone, 21 Nov 2005 @ 7:08am

    419 positive

    There is a positive side of 419 scams that nobody ever seems to comment about: the rooting out and punishing of greedy people who want to "help" move money stolen from people in developing nations.

    For a 419 scam to be successful, the scamee has to be greedy - but also crooked.

    Myself, I think they get what they deserve, and find 419 scammers to be overall useful to society in helping to keep the rest of us honest.

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

    • identicon
      G., 22 Nov 2005 @ 8:46am

      Re: 419 positive

      419 is positive?!? Sick. Some people might be stupid and greedy but this doesn't make it right, man. You think it's OK for people to use violence, rape and murder to get money from people?
      Get your head on straight. 419 scammers aren't nice, they're dangerous. Not all 419 scammers tell them they can get x amount of money. Some are just trying to take advantage of people's genuine kindness.
      Try reading up on it and think again.

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

  • identicon
    non-greed squirrel, 21 Nov 2005 @ 11:49am

    Greed it not required

    to be taken by 419 type scam. It is now just the most obvious of the scams. there are plenty of business models which require such advance payments and may be either legit, or may be scams.

    The real lesson here is to really be able to trust the people you do business with.

    That is lacking in todays world of large deals and quick action.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2008 @ 2:54am

    i have only met 1 nigerian i like. all others are unethical.

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

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