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Nigerian Scammers Scammed

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the who-scams-the-scammer-scammers dept.

177

sbinning writes "At least one Nigerian scammer has had the tables turned. A website admin retaliates against the fraudsters, with hilarious results." From The Age article: "When he found a willing victim, his anti-scam unfolded in much the same way as a typical 419 scam, promising payment only after a substantial investment had been laid down — in this case the receipt of a series of commissioned wooden carvings from a local artist. With some creative photo editing, Shiver Metimbers was able to string along his quarry with claims that the two carvings sent had mysteriously been damaged enroute, the first through a mysterious shrinking process, and the second by a rogue African hamster."

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Why not link directly to the actual content? (5, Informative)

GeekLife.com (84577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643900)

Wood carving scam:
http://www.419eater.com/html/john_boko.htm [419eater.com]

and another great one where he gets the scammer to tattoo himself:
http://www.419eater.com/html/okorie.htm [419eater.com]

Re:Why not link directly to the actual content? (2, Funny)

l33t gambler (739436) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643965)

I love the legs he photoshops into crashed planes and other vehicles. Naked with only sneakers and no socks. How can the 419 scammers ever believe something like that?

WARNING violence and blood

http://www.419eater.com/images/reelgud.jpg [419eater.com]
http://www.419eater.com/images/bread_and_wine_cras h.jpg [419eater.com]

Negro Problems (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15643901)

Subject says it all.

You can't cheat an honest man... (2, Insightful)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643902)

... or so the saying goes.

So cheating these folks should be like shooting fish in a barrel. (No surprise it's a slashdot staple.)

The morality here is dubious (4, Insightful)

FhnuZoag (875558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643952)

Wait a minute here... Is this actually a scam in the first place? 419 scams usually do not involve work on behalf of the scammer, nor a case where they send product *first* and expect to be paid.

Is there any chance that our website owner had just cheated the one honest artist in Nigeria? Perhaps the second email was in fact *not* sent by the first, but by a friend of the first who had been told of the opportunity by another who didn't see the target as a good one. (After all, the first reply did request that

If you know of an artist who could benefit from our financial help and who would be prepared to produce work for us to sell or promote then please do let me know.

It seems quite plausible that emailer number 1 took this statement at its word, and actually found one such artist. In any case, hasn't our 'anti-scammer' just managed to punish a clearly legitimately talented guy for trying to go straight? I wouldn't be surprised if our artist would really now turn to 419 scamming, given the impression of Westerners he now has, and the way in which his talent appears clearly un-appreciated.

Re:The morality here is dubious (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644030)

Fortunately, at the end he does mention that the artist recieved some compensation for his work (although likely not much).

Re:The morality here is dubious (5, Informative)

suckmysav (763172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644070)

Actually, the artist and the scammer were not the same person. If you properly RTA (oops, this is slashdot, sorry) you will find that the scammer paid the artist to produce the carving in the hope that "Derek Trotter" would ultimately pay up big time in the form of a large "art scholarship".

As for the GP suggesting that this might be a case o ripping off "the one honest artist in Nigeria", again, if you properly RTA you would learn that this all came about after the fake "Derek Trotter, Director; Trotters Fine Arts" replied to a standard 419 scam letter with something like "Sorry I'm too busy giving out $100K art scholarships right now to help but do get any artist friends you might have to contact me".

Two days later the same scammer replied back under a different name claiming to have read about the non-existant "Trotters Fine Arts" on the internet and was interested in applying for a scholarship. From there it was game on, the scammer paid an artist to produce the works thinking some naive western art dealer would in turn pay huge money to foster the scammers non-existant artistic talent. He also ended up paying the freight costs to ship the pieces as well.

It appears this 419 scammer has just learnt a lesson that he should already well know, that unchecked greed will make people do the stupidist things.

Re:The morality here is dubious (3, Insightful)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644357)

Actually, the artist and the scammer were not the same person. If you properly RTA (oops, this is slashdot, sorry) you will find that the scammer paid the artist to produce the carving in the hope that "Derek Trotter" would ultimately pay up big time in the form of a large "art scholarship".

Uhm...the article Slashdot links to says no such thing. You are thinking of the article that that article links to.

Anyway, there is still a potential problem, as we don't know how much the artist was paid. Remember, the artist is dealing with the 419 scammer, who might not be honest with him (I doubt these people confine their dishonesty to their dealings with Europeans...). He might, for example, have told the artist about the scholarship, and offered to help the artist get it, if the artist would produce the required works cheaply (say, at materials cost) and give the 419 scammer a big cut if he got the scholarship. So, we may very well have a legitimate artist who was scammed in this thing.

Re:The morality here is dubious (1)

beaverfever (584714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644375)

"if you properly RTA you would learn that this all came about after the fake "Derek Trotter, Director; Trotters Fine Arts" replied to a standard 419 scam letter with something like "Sorry I'm too busy giving out $100K art scholarships right now to help but do get any artist friends you might have to contact me".

Two days later the same scammer replied back under a different name claiming to have read about the non-existant "Trotters Fine Arts" on the internet and was interested in applying for a scholarship. From there it was game on, the scammer paid an artist to produce the works thinking some naive western art dealer would in turn pay huge money to foster the scammers non-existant artistic talent. He also ended up paying the freight costs to ship the pieces as well."


So Shiver Metimbers (a fake identity) created another fake identity and suggested there was money available (bait) and the Nigerian guy spends real money to hopefully receive some of this fake money from the fake guy (the mark takes the bait), and you somehow claim that this explanation clarifies the upright morality of this action? If anything, you have helped clarify how dubious Shiver Metimbers' lesson about greed is.

Re:The morality here is dubious (3, Insightful)

suckmysav (763172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644434)


1) He didn't actually promise to send him money. He promised to evaluate the guys work with a possible sponsorship to follow. Yes, he did lie but it was not a lie of anything like the audacity of the general 419 scam, where many people have been biled out of thousands of dollars.

2) He didn't take any money from the guy, who himself has later claimed to be "earning" US$45K per month from his scamming business. In fact the scammee apparently approached "Shiver Metimbers" regarding him joining his 419 scamming organisation as a collector.

3) The guy lied about who he was and his connection to the original 419 scam letter. He lied about having "read about Trotter Fine Arts" on the internet (and no, I am well aware that the WWW is *not* "the internet" and that technically speaking reading an email is reading something "on the internet" but in a colloquial context such as this it is generally accepted that when somebody says "on the internet" they actually mean "on the web". If not the guy would have said "my friend showed me an email . . .")

4) I have no idea why anybody would even bother trying to defend these scumbags.

Re:The morality here is dubious (1, Insightful)

beaverfever (584714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644489)

1) Shiver Metimbers made a clear indication, with full intention to deceive, that if the mark sent goods there was potential for financial gain. Degrees of audacity are irrelevant.

2) Shiver Metimbers did take material goods, instead of cash. Both have value. The mark's salary claims are irrelevant.

3) Shiver Metimbers lied about being someone he isn't and he lied about a company which doesn't exist. So both of them are liars; that does not vindicate the lying of Shiver Metimbers.

4) I don't know why anyone would defend Shiver Metimbers either. I am more interested in retaining a respectable level of morality, for example resisting the use of torture even when the bad guys use it, and resisting the suspension of civil liberties in times of adversity, even when the bad guys don't respect such things. You can't claim to be on the moral high ground if you're behaving no better than the bad guys.

Re:The morality here is dubious (2, Interesting)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644432)

> It appears this 419 scammer has just learnt a lesson that he should already well know, that unchecked greed will make people do the stupidist things.

Thats a pretty blanket statement, which dosn't take into account the level of weath greedy people have in the first place, nor any kind of assesment of whether greedy people often do the 'right' thing, which increases their wealth.

This is obviously one complex story in a gazillion, but its hard to condone anti-scamming, for these reasons:

a) the people who actually do get ripped off by scams dont benifit from anti-scamming, unless you believe anti-scamming cuts down on the amount of scams in the first place

b) that anti-scamming isn't basically being a better scammer .. how can you condone scamming somebody, just because 'they tried to scam first' .. its awfully grade 3, throwing stones from glass houses, to me

If you ask me, anti-scammers are into the scamming business for worse reasons than nigerian scammers are.

Re:The morality here is dubious (3, Insightful)

birge (866103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644459)

You need to RTFA with a more critical eye. There's no proof that the artist was paid. My guess is that the scammer promised to pay the artist when he got his money. I agree with the original poster; this anti-scammer guy (I've actually been following him for a while) is going way too far, to the point where he's probably causing harm to people not otherwise involved. The saddest anti-scam he did was getting a scammer to get a bunch of local artists to draw beautiful copies of a map (incredibly labor intensive). I'm quite certain that some poor guy in Nigeria who wasn't scamming anyone probably put a lot of work into nothing in the hope of eventually getting paid. True, perhaps the ultimate blame is on the 419er, but this "Shiver" guy is definitely a man with an obsession and no sense of proportion.

Re:The morality here is dubious (4, Informative)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644059)

From the website (but not the article):

UPDATE - June 2006:

Just to give some additional information on John Boko. As I write, I have been in contact with "John" posing as a fellow scammer looking for work. John has just offered me a job as just one of several of his European representatives to help cash and transfer payments from scammed victims for him. I was offered between $2,000 and $3,000 per month just for the simple job of gathering victim's payments together and forwarding the money into his bank account.

Re:The morality here is dubious (3, Insightful)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644117)

This is exactly what I was thinking upon reading the article.

I went to the 419Eater page for it, and all the e-mails appear to have come from the same person. So, it could be that he throught that $25,000 was worth it, and actually went through the trouble of having someone make these (which, from the looks of it, were not bad.)

However, there is always the chance that he had a friend genuinely interested in doing artwork. Considering the area he was supposedly writing from, it wouldn't be unknown for the friend to not have e-mail or regular PC access.

The work he received might be considered theft, or conspiracy; after all, he was promising a chance at money, and someone was submitting their artwork for a chance toward that money (when there was none.) It would be the same as selling some guy raffle tickets at $5, when there is no actual raffle, let alone a prize.

Then there was the fact that he posed as a police officer, which I believe is a felony here in the States.

The little note at the end somewhat consoles my worries, though; it looks like the guy contacted him again to work in a scam ring.

Don't get me wrong; scamming 419 scammers isn't inherently bad. The longer we can string them along, the less time they have to go after innocent people, and the more wary they are about making actual contact. But things like this cross the line, in my opinion; getting money or items from them is no better than them trying to get items or money from us. After all, if someone breaks into your house and steals something of yours, you can break into their house to steal it back (or steal something else!)

To fight the wrong and win, you cannot drop to their level, lest you become what you fight.

Re:The morality here is dubious (1)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644123)

Hey, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

Re:The morality here is dubious (1)

rxrx (968596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644338)

Bahhh scamming anyone in Nigeria is very funny! Along with pulling the wings off of flys.

Re:You can't cheat an honest man... (1)

adamlazz (975798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643972)

Wait a second.

Does this mean that the scammers were properly dealt with? So, in their ways of doing business (scamming), the opposite was received?

I don't get it :/

Just your average anti-scam story (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15643906)

...but for all that, it looks to be worth a chuckle again. Here's the original full story [nyud.net] (coral cached) that the age is reporting about.

I want one... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643910)

So where does one get a "rogue African hamster"?

Re:I want one... (2, Funny)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643922)

It must be carried across the sea by an African Swallow. In a hollowed-out coconut.

Re:I want one... (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643924)

You might try following an African swallow. Be careful, however, as they are known to migrate and could lead you anywhere.

Re:I want one... (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643927)

You can get one in the WoW expansion coming up. I think they're going to be a Scourge race.

Re:I want one... (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643950)

Go for the eyes, Boo!

Re:I want one... (2, Funny)

tacarat (696339) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644163)

Go for the eyes, Boo!

Boo Attacks Sid for 126 slashing damage
Sid uses [Microwave Oven]
Boo has become trapped!
Sid uses [Portable Goblin Power Supply]
[Microwave Oven] Attacks Boo for 99 fire damage
Boo is still trapped!
[Microwave Oven] Attacks Boo for 99 fire damage
[Microwave Oven] Attacks Boo for 99 fire damage
[Microwave Oven] Attacks Boo for 99 fire damage
Boo uses [Goblin Sapper Charge]
[Goblin Sapper Charge] damages Boo for 200 Fire damage
[Goblin Sapper Charge] damages Sid for 400 fire damage
Boo has died
Sid has died

Re:I want one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644367)

Minsc and Boo are ready!

Re:I want one... (3, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643953)

Saturday night. And you want a hamster. Who am I to judge?

Re:I want one... (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644337)

Saturday night. And you want a hamster. Who am I to judge?

Someone that's experienced with hamsters on a Saturday night ?

Re:I want one... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644458)

Sure... in California. :P

Re:I want one... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15643967)

Hamsters? How about some about some African Art [resist.com] instead.

Re:I want one... (1)

FourStarGeneral (851478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644189)

No, no, no. What the scambaiter meant to say was: "it was damaged by a rogue miniature giant space hamster" ;p Minsc and Boo FTW!

Re:I want one... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644254)

I don't know much about rogue hamsters, African or otherwise, but I do remember an episode of "Seinfeld" that discussed a mysterious shrinking process in some detail. As I recall, George was afflicted immediately upon leaving a swimming pool.

It's official... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15643911)

Slashdot is now officially a mirror site for Digg stories.

Re:It's official... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644341)

Or rather, Digg is a trendy "Web 2.0" Slashdot-wannabe with a bunch of self-proclaimed "enlightened" hipsters constantly vying for attention. They're like the new wave of Kuro5hin wankers, only younger and stupider.

Re:It's official... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644467)

Rather, the stories are usually on digg a few days ahead of slashdot. You know slashdot, the place with the old, fat, grey bearded, arrogant, and stone-walling UNIX types.

Re: slashdot re-re-re-revisited (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644633)

I wish. slashdot is now the home of late trailing edge technology culture adopters, mouth breathing neo-con droolers, and a few old (but not too old) school unix types. The really old school unix guys only communicate through quoted emails, trn, and the ocasional white paper.

Re:It's official... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644636)

You know slashdot, the place with the old, fat, grey bearded, arrogant, and stone-walling UNIX types.

That is only the four digit UIDs and under. who almost never post here anymore. Now the amount of people in the mix that have actaully used UNIX is exetremely low (but most have used a POSIX complient system). Many grey beards are still here, but I think they are vastly outnumbered by Apple hipsters. As for old, there are still a few here that remember fixing their core memory with their hands, so that one still holds up a bit. I don't know about arrogant, as I've never been shunned as a newb or told to read the MAN pages here. Nice try though, sorry that slashdot keeps changing ;)

Next up (2, Funny)

AchiIIe (974900) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643920)

Nigerian Scammers try to scam nigerian-scam scammers by requiring a small investment prior sending artwork that precludes another large investment

Not news... (2, Insightful)

David Rolfe (38) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643926)

Isn't this 'not news'? Scamming the 419ers has been around for a long time (nearly as long as Nigerian princes have been promising me huge sums of money).

Re:Not news... (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643943)

This is the first reverse scam that involves wood carving, AFAIK.

Re:Not news... (-1, Troll)

David Rolfe (38) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644003)

This is the first reverse scam that involves wood carving, AFAIK.
:) Well you got me there... I guess it's a different kind of "nerd" that finds this "news", maybe it should be moved out of the IT section and into the Arts and Crafts section, where it might "matter".

Thanks for the clarification. :-p

OT: Moderation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644630)

C'mon -- this is hardly a troll. It may have been over-rated, but that's why I posted it without my karma bonus (as I do with all my off-topic personal replies-to-replies).

Anyway, "News for nerds, stuff that matters." It's not even fair to call this news except for the fact that some Australian rag just found out what all us nerds have known for ages: Other nerds taunt scammers by playing along and exploiting their greed to do stupid crap. I mean ... this isn't news for nerds because it isn't even news to nerds (cite: Slashdot already reported the BBC's 2004 report on this phenomenon).

It must matter to someone, but why the IT section, why not just the general bullshit section?

Re:Not news... (2, Insightful)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644053)

Wood carving is only different and distinct because it requires an actual loss on the artist's part, as opposed to, say, a drawing that could be scanned in prior to delivery, or even a digital art image that could merely be emailed. Choosing WOOD in fact is part of the scam AFAIK, because it requires that the weight of said carving will incure significant fees, while allowing for a medium that is still doable to the artist, because metal requires a significant investment beforehand as well as a worse weight, and any other material (say, clay) would be too easy and light. Also, while proving damage to clay is certainly easier, there's also more chance of damaging the artwork (which ruins the point of the scam).

It's really not news (1)

David Rolfe (38) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644677)

So wait -- scamming a scammer out of shipping and taxes is what's novel in this case? No it's not. The P-P-P-Powerbook showed us back in ... May of 2004? Earlier? Good chance it's not the the earliest example either.

http://www.p-p-p-powerbook.com/ [p-p-p-powerbook.com]

So to be clear -- why do I even need to say this? -- I think all the liars, cheats and scammers using the Internet should be stopped. I think it's dubious that vigilantism is necessary, and slightly ambivalent about whether it's appropriate. I'm pretty confident that it's ineffective though. Every time a nigerian gets a tatoo (or sculpts some wood!) at the behest of a bored Westerner that does nearly zero to stop this fraud from happening to others.

Since there is basically no point in scamming scammers but for one's own amusement, I don't think it's justified. You might not like flies, but are you pulling off their wings for fun? Amusing yourself and your Internet buddies at the expense of others doesn't seem terribly defensible.

To reiterate, scamming scammers is not worse than tricking grannies out of their retirement money. Scamming a scammer will not prevent scammers from tricking grannies out of their retirement money, no matter how hilarious it is.

419 Eater (3, Informative)

labratuk (204918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643928)

For more examples of this, people at 419Eater [419eater.com] and scamorama [scamorama.com] have been reverse scamming 419ers for years now. Oh and then there's my sig.

Re:419 Eater (1)

Scooter (8281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644010)

LOL - thanks for your anti-scam blog Labrat - a bit more subtle than most on 419eater - and all the funnier for it..

oh, and Love & Kisses to you and your family :P

Re:419 Eater (1)

CaptainTap (654066) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644043)

This reverse scam -is- from 419Eater, which is referenced in TFA.

Re:419 Eater (1)

labratuk (204918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644114)

Oh man, I suck.

Re:419 Eater (1)

cei (107343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644611)

My personal favorite, that guy [deancameron.com] who played "Chainsaw" in the Mark Harmon/Kirstie Alley movie Summer School wrote a 2 man play [spamscamscam.com] from his correspondence that has had successful runs in LA and NY as well as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The show goes to the Montreal "Just for Laughs" comedy festival this month.

The blog perpetrating this anti-419 caper is here: (1)

nazgul000 (545727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643932)

Why does the story link to a news article about the blog perpetrating this anti-419 caper? The 419eater blog itself is here:

http://www.419eater.com/html/john_boko.htm [419eater.com]

They always end up gloating for the scammers (1)

l33t gambler (739436) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643935)

I read several of these stories and I almost laugh to death a few times, they are great. Intelligent funny I dont know how they do it.

But the at end of the scam the scam-baiters always gloat and insult the scammers. Scammers may be bad and even dangerous people but after all that intelligence, why do they go down to this childish level?

Dont screw with these people (4, Informative)

affliction (242524) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643936)

I don't think it is a wise decision to play jokes on these people. They are very serious about what they do. There have been at least 3 murders directly related to 419 scammers, see Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Dont screw with these people (2, Informative)

Justin205 (662116) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644013)

These reverse scams generally don't go to actually meeting the people they're talking with - it's mainly about wasting their time, so it's harder for them to scam real people. At least two of those murders Wikipedia notes were people going to get their money back after being scammed, not just scamming the scammers in the first place.

Re:Dont screw with these people (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644016)

Living in fear is not the way to live. Besides, one murder was the victim taking it out on a random (?) Nigerian - so the danger isn't one sided. The second murder was a man who went to Nigeria pursuing his money. I think, like terrorism, while these crimes are tragic, that the statitists are low actually experiencing them. But incidents like this make me think of Twain's essay "The Damned Human Race."

OTOH, many Nigerian scammers think westerners are stupid and assume we are all easy money - they deserve to be taught otherwise with these pranks. I won't live in fear of thieves.

From the wiki you linked to.

One American was murdered in Nigeria in June 1995 while pursuing his lost money.[8]

In February 2003, a scam victim from the Czech Republic shot and killed Michael Lekara Wayid, an official at the Nigerian embassy in Prague.[9] [10]

A Greek man was murdered in South Africa after responding to a 419 scam.[11]

Re:Dont screw with these people (2, Informative)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644040)

Don't forget about the P-P-P-Powerbook [p-p-p-powerbook.com] . The very active forum member who gave the scammer the fake powerbook suddenly disappeared not to long after the website was made.

Re:Dont screw with these people (1)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644225)

There exists absolutely no information that I can find that corroborates your claim.

Amazing (3, Insightful)

osgeek (239988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643939)

7 Million dollars from Queensland alone... Isn't that just mind-blowing?

There are some really really greedy and stupid people out there. It just serves as a reminder of how dumb people are and how isolated I must be from people like that for one reason or another. I really don't think I even KNOW someone dumb enough to fall for one of those scams.

Where are these people? How is it that they have any money at all? It's just staggering to think that they're allowed to vote.

It makes it fairly obvious why spamming works so well. I'd speculate that the people just dumb enough to make spamming a lucrative business are a lot smarter than the ones needed to make 419 scams successful.

It feels like standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon, where you're just in awe at the magnitude of it all.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15643976)

They're the same people who buy lottery tickets and are sure they are going to win.

It's not always greed (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644181)

There are some really really greedy and stupid people out there.

Letters come in hundreds of different formats. There are the well-known next-of-kin letters, the orphan scams, repentant dying sinner needs help giving fortune away to charity, tsunami victim donation appeals, fake cheque scams, wash-wash, anti-scam scams (been a victim of 419 crime? We'll get your money back for you - at a price!) and more.

More importantly: you know it's unwise and dangerous to respond to 419 mails. Are you sure your mother or cousin is aware of the danger? This is a good time to educate your family how these scammers work. Read The Ethics of Scambaiting [419eater.com] as a brief introduction to the subject.

(I'm a 419eater member, so I'm posting as AC.)

Re:Amazing (3, Interesting)

A1rmanCha1rman (885378) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644247)

What's generally unrecognised in the world at large is the VERY REAL fact that several foreign entrepreneurs return from very dicey investment forays into Nigeria with up to 100 times their initial investment! The multitudes of successful freebooters include barely literate working-class type adventurers like laundrymen and gardeners returning home with the wherewithal to buy yachts and luxury homes, and attracting a lot of local attention due to their meteoric rise in lifestyle (which, due to their lowly beginnings, they hardly disguise). They also pass along by word of mouth exaggerated tales of a bottomless pit of largesse for the taking out there... This, rather than simple gullibility and greed, coupled with the no-questions-asked-if-you pay-a-bribe policy of the Nigerian authorities is what serves as an irresistible magnet for the "greedy and stupid people" osgeek refers to. I cannot imagine coming to the USA or Australia with a million dollars and leaving with 100 million without being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Inland Revenue or similar authority in those countries, but that's contemporary Nigeria for you... There is a personal account from an undercover FBI agent assigned to investigate the scams which actually describes how he could feel himself being slowly drawn into the hope that there really was money at the end of the undertaking!!! The only reason these scams endure is that there is really a lot of dirty money to be made out of a country blessed with the "unaided bounty of nature - Crude Oil" and cursed with institutionalised corruption that allows its wealth to be drained by unscrupulous forces within and without its borders.

Re:Amazing (1)

nanoakron (234907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644284)

I was once told by a rather rich person:

"You will never go poor underestimating people's greed or stupidity"

and another one:

"It is better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission"

Of course, the second one doesn't relate to this case...but it's and interesting take on the old 'carpe diem'

And yet they scam... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15643941)

I'm truly amazed at the carvings. If they wanted they could be selling such items legitimately to the rest of the world. I wonder what an eBay auction on authentic Nigerian hand carvings would go for? :D

Re:And yet they scam... (2, Insightful)

stevey (64018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644052)

I can't see many people sending payment via paypal/whatever to Nigera - what with the reputation that country has (fairly or not) for scams.

Re:And yet they scam... (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644222)

The artist did sell it legitimately, although he probably could have gotten more money from his work if he sold it on eBay. I like the carvings too. Hm... maybe there is a business proposition here. Someone acting as a middleman for these artists could make money while still rewarding them for their work. People are willing to pay $1000+ for such things(Specifically stone Inuit carvings, in my experience).

Wait a gosh darn second... (0, Redundant)

smart.id (264791) | more than 8 years ago | (#15643992)

You're telling me that I can't actually make $15 million USD by helping out a Nigerian prince escape the country and seek refuge elsewhere? They really had me going! And here I was, thinking that you can't lie on the internet!

I love the website (1)

christoofar (451967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644022)

This website has been my favorite for a long time. I've played 2 of the games the author has tried with some success (I got a fake Western Union receipt from one). The more baiters out there, the fewer of these scams will perpetrate across the Internet.

Someone needs to come up with a perl script smart enough to do automated baiting. It would sell really well as a sendmail/Exchange server filter. Think of the possibilities!!!

TO PURCHASE LICESNE FOR FILTER, I NEED ACCOUNT TO WIRE MONEY TO YOU FROM LAGOS NIGERIA. CAN YOU SEND ME PHONE NUMBER I CONTACT YOU? THANKS SO MUCH GOD BLESS.

YOUR FRIEND IN CRIST
NABLOM NUGUABYA

Obligatory... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644028)

How many scammers could a scammer scam if a scammer could scam scammers?

Re:Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644532)

at least one ? duh!

Nigerian? (0)

MagicDude (727944) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644031)

A question I've always wondered is why is this a Nigerian scam predominantly? Why aren't people from Liberia or Gabon or Cameroon pulling these scams. Or at least pretend to be from these other countries, so that people may think "Oh, it's not from Nigeria, it must be ligit".

Re:Nigerian? (1)

whereverjustice (955731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644179)

Could simply be the result of Nigeria's huge population (128 million), and improved communications availability due to oil wealth.

Re:Nigerian? (-1, Troll)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644220)

Interesting question. If you go to the CIA world book web site, you can look at the income figures for all the countries in the world. If you happen to know the names of some African states, then you will be able to determine that there are only 3 countries in Africa that have notable income levels: South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria.

Of these three, South Africa is a regional super power, responsible for about half of all African economic activity. Egypt is second, but with less than half the output of South Africa and Nigeria's economy is somewhat smaller than Egypt. The rest of Africa is so undeveloped that it can be collectively ignored.

South Africa and Egypt both have diverse economies with mining, agriculture, industry and tourism. In the rest of Africa, people basically sit in the sun and wait for the bananas to grow, or they attack each other with spears and machetes to take each other's bananas.

The difference with Nigeria is that huge revenue is generated from oil exports. There isn't really any other economic activity in Nigeria. So, what you have in Nigeria, is a little economic development - just enough to whet the appetites of many people and since there isn't anything else to do, they end up gainfully employed in crime.

Another interesting point about Africa is that if you compare the whole continent with a relatively poor European state, such as Spain, you'll note that the economic output of Spain is about 4 times more than that of all of Africa. Compared with America, the total economic output of Africa is less than that of the state of California.

The situation in most of Africa is really quite hopeless and people depend of crime to survive.

Re:Nigerian? (4, Informative)

dfjghsk (850954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644414)

MOD PARENT DOWN

Nigeria has a notable income level when compared with Africa? Maybe if you only look at the GDP of the entire country. Take a look at the GDP per capita:

Nigeria: 1400

Botswana: 10,500
Namibia: 7,000
Zimbabwe: 2,300
Mozambique: 1,300
Angola: 3,200
Congo: 1,300
Gabon: 6,800
Uganda: 1,800
Sudan: 2,100
Chad: 1,500
Ghana: 2,500
Cote d'Ivoire: 1,600
Algeria: 7,200
Libya: 11,400
Morocco: 4,200

Nigeria does have a GDP of 174.1 billion.. but it's hardly "notable":

Algeria: 233.2 billion
Morocco: 138.3 billion
Sudan: 85.65 billion
Ethiopia: 62.88 billion

I'm not going to go through the whole list..

BTW:
South Africa GDP: 533.2 billion
Spain GDP: 1.029 trillion

So South Africa alone is 1/2 of Spains output.. so that also disproves your claim that Spains output is 4x all of Africas..

Perhaps you should do your research instead of telling other people to do it.

Re:Nigerian? (1)

dfjghsk (850954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644616)

also.. the GDP of California is approximately the same as Spain or Italy.. so it is impossible for the GDP of all of Africa to be both 1/4th of Spain's and approximately the same as California.

Why don't you stop talking out of your ass.. and actually do a little research.. then you won't look like an idiot. Thx.

A Small Group of Merry Scammers (1)

Lance_Denmark (985878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644062)

The thing I don't get about scambaiting is how widespread it seems to be. Which poses one of two questions.

Are scammers so numerous in Nigeria and other African countries that there are enough of them to get scambaited without relating their stories to each other?

Are some of the scambait stories fake?

That's too many uses of the word scambait for my liking, I am going for a lie down.

Scamming Nigerian Artists is wrong (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644104)

While I'm not opposed to scamming the 419 scammers, I find the tactics used in this case to be revolting.

Here's why.

Contrary to what one of the earlier posters said, there are not merely one, but MANY serious and honest artists in Nigeria, who are choosing to try and make a living in a field that is not typically financially rewarding. I worked in Nigeria, with Nigerian artists, and let me tell you from experience, many are hardworking and creative, and most importantly, THEY ARE NOT 419 SCAMMERS. They certainly do not deserve to be used as pawns in a scam.

Furthermore, many of them are quite aware of the 419 scams, and condemn them. They're quite aware that the 419 scams damage the reputation of Nigerians in general.

Visit www.nigeria-arts.net for a good example of what's out there in the world of Nigerian arts.

Bottom line: this Australian sysadmin and his "artwork anti-scam" scheme may have scammed an innocent third party artist rather than a 419 scammer.

Re:Scamming Nigerian Artists is wrong (5, Informative)

FroBugg (24957) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644146)

If you read the entirety of the original website, he claims at the bottom to have gotten in touch with the scammer through another alias, gotten the name and contact info of the artist, and confirmed that the artist was paid for the pieces (though he wasn't able to find out how much).

Re:Scamming Nigerian Artists is wrong (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644297)

I read the article a few days before it came up on Slashdot, and I agreee. The carvings were actually very well done, the artist put a lot of effort into accurately reproducing the reference photos he (or she) had to work with.

More than likely, the artist in question did it on spec, hoping to put food on the table for a week or more, and was promised enough at least to cover a few days for the first reproductions, only to be cut off by the scammer when the deal fell through (a common practice in business and crime).

Impersonating an officer (2, Interesting)

whereverjustice (955731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644128)

Anyone notice that, toward the end of the scam, he writes an e-mail as a police officer? Impersonating an officer is, I believe, illegal in most western jurisdictions.

unwise and unethical (1)

m874t232 (973431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644149)

While this sort of behavior is probably satisfying, it's both unwise and unethical. It's unwise because these people are criminals that may come after you to hurt you. And it's unwise because you may be breaking the law yourself. Finally, just because someone did something bad to you doesn't make it right for you to do the same to them.

Re:unwise and unethical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644173)

It's probably not dangerous if the reverse-scammer knows what he's doing.
But for the average person, they shouldn't even respond to such dangerous people.

Re:unwise and unethical (2, Interesting)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644248)

It's unwise because these people are criminals that may come after you to hurt you.

This would require that the criminal have a means of tracking the individual. In many cases, scam baiters use proxies when receiving deliveries, and only then if they actually accept any deliveries from the scammer.

And it's unwise because you may be breaking the law yourself.

To what law do you refer?

Finally, just because someone did something bad to you doesn't make it right for you to do the same to them.

The purpose of scam baiting is not to do something "bad" to the criminal. It is to waste the time and resources that would otherwise be used to victimize someone.

Re:unwise and unethical (1)

m874t232 (973431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644346)

And it's unwise because you may be breaking the law yourself.

To what law do you refer?


The scam baiters are promising payment if the other party does something. A priori, that's a contract. Depending on the circumstances, it may be valid, legally binding, and even enforceable.

The purpose of scam baiting is not to do something "bad" to the criminal. It is to waste the time and resources that would otherwise be used to victimize someone.

Getting people to tattoo themselves, or indirectly causing wood carvers to do work that the scam baiter knows won't be paid for, is doing "something bad", not just to the scammer, but also to third parties.

Re:unwise and unethical (1)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644554)

The scam baiters are promising payment if the other party does something. A priori, that's a contract. Depending on the circumstances, it may be valid, legally binding, and even enforceable.

You are suggesting, then, that I can be legally bound to submit payment to an individual, even if that individual's request for payment is known to be fraudulent.

Getting people to tattoo themselves, or indirectly causing wood carvers to do work that the scam baiter knows won't be paid for, is doing "something bad", not just to the scammer, but also to third parties.

Why is having a scammer 'brand' themself -- of their own free will, believing that such actions will enable them to commit an act of fraud -- a "bad" thing? Your second example has not been demonstrated to have occured.

Re:unwise and unethical (3, Informative)

m874t232 (973431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644701)

You are suggesting, then, that I can be legally bound to submit payment to an individual, even if that individual's request for payment is known to be fraudulent.

Up to the point of the guy getting the tattoo or sending the carvings, all that has happened is that you promised to send money in return for some action by the other person; the other person hasn't committed any fraudulent act yet, and it's only a supposition that their original request is fraudulent (rather than, say, naive or a joke).

Why is having a scammer 'brand' themself -- of their own free will, believing that such actions will enable them to commit an act of fraud -- a "bad" thing?

Because, whether achieved through deception or brute force, it's still a form of vigilante justice. Furthermore, when all is said and done, you have done injury to a person that hasn't actually done any injury to you--the other person might be a naive teenage kid that wouldn't even have gone through with the scam.

These anti-scam efforts violate two basic principles of the way we administer justice: punishment and retribution is up to the justice system, and with few exceptions, we only punish actual crimes and not merely intent.

Your second example has not been demonstrated to have occured.

Good. In fact, those two particular scammers do look like they deserved what they got. That doesn't make the actions of the anti-scammer any less reprehensible, dangerous, or unethical. We have sleazeballs fighting sleazeballs here.

Ok Ned Flanders... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644323)

Whatever you say.

This has happend before (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644154)

From http://scambuster419.co.uk/ [scambuster419.co.uk] A 419 scammer sends money to Gilbert! After persuading a 419 scammer to spend an entire week going from bank to bank, desperately trying to find one that would accept a succession of extremely dubious payment slips, Gilbert managed to turn the tables on the scammer: he persuaded the scammer to send money to HIM via Western Union, rather than the other way round! After a catalogue of failed transfers to the scammer which Gilbert blamed on network problems, Gilbert suggested that the scammer send him the money to check that the Western Union network was now operating without any problems. Almost unbelievably, the scammer complied. Click here to read the whole story. The cash, incidentally, has been donated to Cancer Research UK. I'm sure that the scammer would be delighted if he knew that his money had gone towards a good cause.

This is very satifying (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644204)

This is probably my favorite anti-scam. The scammer, who is not poor or suffering (He has a team helping him scam people, it seems very organized), loses money, and the artist who made the sculptures got paid. And the anti-scammer is rewarded with nice sculptures.

Again? (1)

WoLpH (699064) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644209)

P-P-P-Powerbook [p-p-p-powerbook.com]

One illegal act deserves another ? (2, Interesting)

craznar (710808) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644221)

I'm not sure about everywhere else ... but isn't pretending to be or impersonating a police officer somewhat illegal.

Now whilst the rest of it was entertaining, doesn't this really compare to fighting spam by spamming the author ?

Anyway - was entertaining reading, if somewhat on morally dubious grounds.

OLD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644227)

Repost this last week.

Lovely jubbly (1)

Gromius (677157) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644250)

What a plonker. Only fools (and possibly horses) would fall for being scammed by Del Boy.
Was the art scholarship to attend the "Peckham School of Fine Arts"?


For the Americans amoungst us who have no idea what I'm talking about [wikipedia.org] .

My Scammer Story (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644321)

Once, while selling mobiles on eBay, I was propositioned by a Nigerian scammer to send him a phone in exchange for an online western union money order. (fake of course) I insisted that he set up the shipping through FedEx so that the guy would come to my house, pick up the item, and charge the shipping to him. He eagerly complied. So, I went to the FedEx website, looked up the maximum weight (50kg), and proceeded to go down to the beach with a box, shovel and bathroom scale. Once there, I filled said box with 120 lbs. of sand.

I went to the FedEx website later to see how much shipping had cost him...$1200. I could barely hold my laughter in the middle of class.

Re:My Scammer Story (2, Insightful)

craznar (710808) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644460)

Once, whilst walking through town, I was approached by a cheap crook who demanded I give him all my money. I insisted that I not, and managed to make an escape.

Later I managed to find out where he lived, so I broke into his house and stole his plasma TV (rich bastard).

I went to the police later and told them the story, and we laughed together at how justice had been done.

Um.. not new (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644331)

This website has been around for years.

The saga of Cole and the Anus Laptops (1)

Robaato (958471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644525)

I dunno...I find the saga of Cole and the Anus Laptops [thescambaiter.com] (warning: NSFW) to be more entertaining.

This guy has been on the hook for over a year now, always scrounging up the money to pay shipping for what he thinks is a load of laptop computers (paid for with a stolen credit card, way back when), but is actually a box full of broken crap.

After the first few freight baits, the baiter resorts to sending broken appliances with Photoshopped pictures of the scammer pasted all over them...and Cole is still willing to pony up for the next shipment!

They're now on their tenth go, amazingly enough.

Who is Brian Anthony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15644561)

His name is mentioned at the end of the story: "A day goes by. John senses he is being played for a fool, and decided to contact Brian Anthony with a proposition:"

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1)

mulhollandj (807571) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644682)

Reminds me of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

We've been scammed... (3, Funny)

egjertse (197141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15644715)

Looks like we're victims of the dreaded 403 scam... A weird twist on the old bait-and-switch
Right, I'll shut up.
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