419 Scam Victims

![][1][Tokyo][2] - Eight people in southern Japan forked over 150 million yen ($1.27 million) to a man who promised huge returns involving fake American $1 million bills and then disappeared with their money, a news report said Thursday.The eight, including three who have filed for personal bankruptcy because of the huge outlays in the scam, are considering filing a criminal complaint with police, the national daily Asahi Shimbun said.When I worked in consumer protection, we always had these kinds of folks ripped off in Nigerian scams of unending variations... the one thing they had in common was that the scammed always combined dishonesty and credulity in a most adorable fashion.The above scam is more obviously immoral than your run-of-the-mill, "help Mr. Moses Odiaka get money out of the accounts of the late General Sani Abacha" scam; in this case, the victims (read: would-be fraudsters) knew up front that they were attempting to defraud, and in a pretty audacious manner. That makes me laugh all the harder. That three of them ended up in banruptcy is a shame. I should have been happier were it all eight.But even with your regular everyday Nigerian ("419"/Advance Fee Fraud) scams, it's hard to feel sorry for the victims. The secrecy and urgency that mark these scams is complied with because the victim knows that he's stealing.Now for those of you who have never bothered to send your bank information to a Nigerian via email - good job. If you've ever wondered how it works however, you're in luck, because I'm going to tell you.If you decide to follow up with your wannabe accomplice, you'll receive a phone call explaining that this money is just sitting there, not doing anyone any good, "and why shouldn't we share it?" You might get 40% of millions (you'll certainly get a free .JPG photo of millions via email, in case you don't know what money looks like). That's the hook. If you bite, some Nigerian will be taking his friends to dinner tonight. You'll be on the menu.Your accomplice will assure you that all he needs is a few thousand dollars for various processing fees, and what's that compared to the millions waiting for you? "Just don't tell anyone, because this is not exactly, as they say, lawful. Let this be our secret."After you wire the processing fees, there will arise a need for a few thousand dollars to bribe some local officials. "That's the way things work in this country, my friend." Since you've already invested several thousand, it would seem a shame to see that lost. Send more.After you bribe the local officials, well, there are some customs officials poking around. We need a few thousand more to shut them up. Send more.It ought to be obvious at this point that your money is just going into the pocket of the scammer, and if it ended there the victim might be poorer but wiser ("a fool and his money," and all that), but some of the money may actually go to customs officials, not to smuggle the money out of Nigeria, but you in.Now you've invested thousands and the payoff day arrives. "Oh, friend, you presence is needed in Nigeria. Don't bring a Visa; you arriving through normal channels would raise embarassing questions. We have ways of getting you in that will raise no eyebrows."If you go, you'll most likely find that you have committed a serious offense: arrangements made on your behalf ensured you would enter the country illegally. You are now a hostage and whatever money you still have will be released to your "friend" before you yourself are released (unless you can find the American consulate and beg a plane ride home). At least one American has been murdered and several foreign nationals have disappeared pursuing the billions in free-for-the-asking money floating around this sub-tropical African paradise.In all honesty, it seldom goes that far. Usually the scammed runs out of money or wises up. Or files a complaint with the government. Seriously. "I wired $25,000 to a guy I met over email. Please get it back." How sorry can you be? How screwed can you be?I know I'm supposed to feel sorry for them. I certianly feel sorry for the kids, wives, husbands, and parents not only for being forced into poverty, but for being related to such an idiot in the first place.But sorry for a person who was scammed while trying to steal millions of dollars?Not me. [1]: http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/counterfeit-fake-bill2.jpg [2]: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060216/ap_on_fe_st/million_dollar_bill;_ylt=AkIn9q0I20VzWhtEQAMjUZ4sQE4F;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA--


Joel 12 years, 3 months ago

Bill: I for one applaud your courageous stand against corruption ... in Japan.

; )

thetomdotdot 12 years, 3 months ago

And Nigeria.

But seriously, I wish I knew more stupid people with excess cash. Wouldn't simply giving it to me save them an awful lot of embarrasment?

God bless America. Land of the idot.

Will Babbit 12 years, 3 months ago

NPR actually did a fantastic story on these guys last fall, interviewing a lot of the people doing the actual deeds in Nigeria, and then interviewing a vigilante group that goes after these guys, stealing their time and money right back by pretending to take the bait as 10 or 15 different people at the same time.

Ahh, here it is:


edie_ 12 years, 3 months ago

I write to seek your cooperation as my foreign partner and your assistance to enable me to invest in the stable economy of your country. Suggestion on any profitable venture in your Country will be much appreciated. We really need your assistance in developing and implementing a solid investment plan in your country. I apologize if this mail does not suit your personal or business ethics. I am making this venture proposal to you in strict confidence. The currency we want to invest was acquired from an over invoiced contract proceed the amount in question is over $25.500,000.00 Million dollars of your country. If you will like to assist us as a foreign partner, then indicate your interest after which we shall both discuss on the modalities. All other information to facilitate the remittance of the funds will be revealed to you in due course. I will like my proposal to be confidential and look forward to the swift acknowledgement of my mail as soon as will be appreciated. Please do not forget your suggestions on the profitable venture opportunity in the stable economy of your Country. Because of the sensitive nature on the acquisition of over invoiced funds, all details on how you must make electronic deposit transaction will be revealed in the privacy of your telephone on a giving time and date.

12 years, 3 months ago

Will: Ebola Monkey Man is one of my favourite vigilantes: http://www.ebolamonkeyman.com/

12 years, 3 months ago

edie_: Sounds great! Where do I sign up?

Patrick Quinn 12 years, 3 months ago

ummmm... I get the sense that you guys think that maybe the Nigerian guy whose s'posed to be transferring $50 million into my checking account might not be legit.

thomgreen 12 years, 3 months ago

I always have to go by the famous moniker TANSTAAFL! There Ain't No So Thing As A Free Lunch!

If people would follow this simple idea, no one would be scammed.

Terry Bush 12 years, 3 months ago

Long live anyone (and their progeny) who understands and uses the word Tanstaafl (correctly) in any conversation!!

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