by Mike Masnick

Life And Times Of A 419 Scammer

from the national-pastime dept

It seems that when we post stories about Nigerian 419 scams, there's occasionally some controversy over how prevalent the scams really are or how serious the government is about cracking down on the scams. Of course, at the same time, many feel that those caught in the scams deserve what they get, so they find it hard to sympathize with the idea that the scammers are doing anything wrong. Still, it does seem like the scams are quite common, and a Fortune reporter seems to have found a cybercafe full of the scammers, while noting that the "WE DO NOT TOLERATE SCAMS IN THIS PLACE" sign on the door is basically a joke. People point out that, no matter how often the Nigerian government promises to shut down scammers, almost no one seems to care in some parts of Nigeria. The threat of being caught is small, with the potential punishment (for the few who are caught) being almost meaningless. As for those involved, it's the best job available by far: "It is my God-given talent," notes one scammer.

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  • identicon
    Search Engines WEB, 22 May 2006 @ 7:39pm

    They are now using RELAY :-(

    It has even gotten much worse, they are now using the RELAY service to make international calls - pretending to be deaf....

    They are now going online and attempting to place orders from Tech sites using this strategy

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

  • identicon
    True2America, 22 May 2006 @ 7:53pm


    Scammers who scam the elderly and everyone else deserves either a) be shot or b) Go to jail for 5 (five) years for EACH scam that person has done.

    The same goes for spyware distributors and spammers as well. But spammers deserve to be shot, no jail sentance! =)

    I'd be happy, You'd be happy, and the purps would be sad.

    Win-Win situation.

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

  • identicon
    staggart, 22 May 2006 @ 9:08pm

    A Great 419 Article

    A Recent New Yorker article explored a guy who fell for a 419 in a big way. Investigates the sad psychology of how people get so deep into these things they can't think straight:


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

  • identicon
    I'm Rich!, 22 May 2006 @ 9:17pm

    I don't know what you people are complaining about. My check for $3 Million was sent overnight to me and it will be here by 10:00 today!

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

    • identicon
      ian from the uk, 18 Jul 2006 @ 6:57am

      Re: Im rich.

      are you still rich, this is to the guy who got his cheque by 10:00? because i had a "western saharan diplomat by the name of ramdan aman" emailing me and me nearling falling for his very good i should say fake copies of power of attorney letters and beneficiary contracts. making me a sole beneficiary of $14million sounds great. i couldnt believe it 22 years old and a millionaire, i was already thinking of what big 4x4 to buy, where to live, when to tell work im quitting! he said he had paid taxes to my country(uk) for the investors money and all i had to do was pay 10,500 gbp to pay for handling fees. i couldnt afford that and said i can only gather a measly 4,000 gbp. he didnt seem to bothered, but then you have to start thinking why does he want it now, when it would take me 2seconds to put my hand in the case and pay him. he wouldnt accept that. i just hope that no one falls for this 419 scam or what ever they call it. to regards to the guy commenting on how the nigerian just hates white westerners,im black and they still would kindly let me part company with my money.

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

  • identicon
    J, 22 May 2006 @ 10:24pm

    I don't know how well known Banterist is. Brian, the guy that runs the site, spent some time messing with a few of the scammers. The third one is kind of boring but the first 2 are hilarious. What kind of credits do I have to give here so I don't get sued? Is mentioning the name of the site enough?

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

  • identicon
    Andrew Strasser, 23 May 2006 @ 1:23am

    Let's not forget 221...

    I really have to say that these aren't just peoplein the country. Some of these IP addy's have been traced back to the embassy and it's embassy officials. My organization was a target for one dumb man who tried to scam me. I guess he really thought I was dumb enough to give someone money to give me ten mil.

    I don't see the logic in this sort of thing and how people would fall for it. As if you were making a donation to me of 10 mil. You do not need my money to send me yours. You must have plenty. It all goes with how intelligent you are about businesss and how much research you do.

    As for the people who thought they were cute and sent something to me. I hope you realize you've now been tagged and that's almost as good as being run to ground like Sadaam or having you Al' Quaedia accounts stripped of everything. You'd think you'd at least put some work into picking your targets.

    How stupid can people be. There is little that can be done, but a nice lil helicopter with a few warheads on it would be a good rational way of getting rid of people who would rob charities.

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

  • icon
    crystalattice (profile), 23 May 2006 @ 10:34am

    They hate the US

    Or at least they hate the white, western world. In the Fortune article, the kid admitted that one of the reasons he did it is because "white people can afford it." Or the people feel it's simply payback for what the white-devil slavemasters have done to them.

    It's amazing that the rest of the world hates "the West" simply because of the poor way the US has treated everyone else. And the hate these other people have for us is simply political; on an individual basis they don't care about Americans. It's just what America does when it gets involved in other countries politics.

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

    • identicon
      Jakob Jasva, 24 May 2006 @ 8:34am

      Re: They hate the US

      Yes, because Europe has always treated other nations FANTASTICALLY! Imperialism, colonialism, stalinism, nazism, fascism - you mention it - Europe has killed someone or oppresed somebody in the name of it. If we make a grand total of killin' in 3rd world countries over the last 200 years I'm pretty sure Europe will beat the US by a healthy margin. I'm not American - I'm Danish - and I'm not blind although many other Europeans seem to be.

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

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