Friday, October 21, 2005

419 Scammers

For a long time, I've been a fan of Steve's work involving the 419 Nigerian scammers and all the torture he puts them through. Then I stumbled on a news article about 419 phishers yesterday at Yahoo! News.

I really have a hard time believing people are as gullible as the article makes them out to be. Scammers are netting hundreds of millions of dollars a year? I call bullshit. The Internet isn't the big scary cyber-wasteland that it was thought to be 8 years ago. In the US, people just aren't that stupid, are they? The claim that it is mostly elderly victims, who don't know any better, rings hollow to me when my grandparents were warned by their iMac salesman about phishing schemes as early as 2001.

I get, on average, 10 of these emails every day. They usually read something like
Dear Friend
I am Barrister Afeez Salau, the attorney to late Robert Alvi, who used to be a private contractor with the Morex Oil and Gas Company in Accra - Ghana, On the 21st of April 2003,he was involved in a car accident along Kumasi express road , in which he lost his life. Prior to his death, Mr. Robert, had an account with a security company where He deposited US$10m (Ten Million US Dollars).
and then continue to offer you compensation for helping retrieve the money. Aside from the obvious - the fact that even legitimate heirs spend years retrieving money from banks - this "something for nothing" thing should cause alarm.
If this proposal appeals to you kindly give me the following details about you for further preparation of relevant documents for the release of the funds:
(1) Full name and full contact address
(2) Nationality and current address of place of residence
(3) Age and Sex including number of children if any
(4) Occupation: Name of company and company activity including position held.
(5) Phone and fax numbers.
Thanks in anticipation of your kind cooperation.
Barr Afeez
Sorry, but if this guy was my long lost uncle, and you managed to track me down, shouldn't you know my name and nationality?

The article linked from Yahoo told me something I did not know. These Nigerian assholes have confederates in the US to try and strongarm and coerce their victims into giving up their money.
"They're all graduates and very smart," Samuel said. "Four of them are graduates in psychology here in Nigeria. If the white guy is getting suspicious, he'll call them all in and say, 'Can you finish this off for me?'

"They'll try to scare you that you're not going to get out of it. Or you're going to be arrested and you will face trial in Nigeria. They'll say: 'We know you were at Wal-Mart yesterday. We know the D.A. He's our friend.' "

"They'll tell you that you are in too deep — you either complete it or you'll be killed."

Oh, well excuse me...they're Nigerian psychologists. How could any stupid American attempt to escape their grasp? You want to intimidate and kill me? You know I was at Wal-Mart yesterday? Do you know what I bought? Bullets, for this gun...

We're expected to believe that seven Nigerians are going to come after us if I don't wire you $1000USD to extract funds from some dead dudes account that doesn't exist?

Try it, asshole.

As of today, I have a new policy. I am replying to every single 419 email I get through a dummy account. I'm not going to get all creative and steal Steve's schtick, I'm just going to waste their time and piss them off. They say they get money from 70% of their respondees - I call bullshit again.

"I Will Eat Your Dollars" my ass. Bring it, Nigerian fucksticks.