I always knew that most of the people I’m surrounded by are stupid. That’s a given. But I never knew just how stupid some of these people were, until I heard of the 419 scams.
I guess it’s like this: Some time in the 80’s, faxes and snailmail started coming out of Nigeria claiming to be from bank employees, lawyers, etc., talking about some bank account they stumbled upon, containing millions and millions in US dollars. The owner of the account has been long dead, and the evil government will just take back in all that cash if something isn’t done about it. That’s where you come in. They need someone outside of Nigeria to help setup another account, and claim that money as next of kin, what have you. All you have to do is help them out, and you’ll will net 20% of this newfound fortune!!!
Of course, there’s plenty of expenses in setting up this account, and getting the proper documentation in order. But what the hell, when you stand to gain so much, what’s a few thousand dollars here and there?
I shit you not, officials state that these kind of scams pull in HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS from the fucking US alone every year. It’s called Advanced Fee Fraud, and there’s thousands of variations on the scam described above. The people that pull these scams are referred to as 419 scammers. 419 is the section in the Nigerian Legal code that covers these types of operations.
From what I’ve gathered, they sit in cybercafes all day and night, harvesting emails, sending emails, and corresponding with the victims (read: fucking morons). They get emails from website guestbooks (guestbooks are soooooo 1996), and start the mass mailings. They also tag these guestbooks once they’ve been harvested. It looks like gibberish to the average English speaking person, but holds meaning to the criminals. I don’t care to post these terms on the blog, as I don’t know if they search for these terms myself. You’ll see.
As far as I can tell, not much is being done about these scammers. Some report these scams as Nigeria’s 5th largest industry, being used to fund drug trafficking and terrorist activities. It’s also gone far beyond the reach of Nigeria as well. All over West Africa, in many parts of Europe, and even in the US and Canada, people are pulling 419 scams. I feel many authorities are reluctant to address the problem simply because if you’re fucking dumb enough to hand over thousands and thousands of dollars to people over the fucking Internet, you really didn’t need that money in the first place, because you are far too stupid to live. The only problem I see with it, aside from possibly funding terrorists, is that it’s taking money out of our economy with no return.
There are a few who are prepared to deal with the scamming scum. They’re called scambaiters, and they’re my new addiction. Scambaiters have redefined the term “pwn3d” (if there ever was a definition in the first place). I won’t spoil it for you, but know that these scambaiters are true artists. With that, I leave you with a few links…
Artists Against 419
** I refer to the victims as morons, with the exception of the elderly. I understand that computers and the internet may be confusing to them. I’ve read of cases where a son bought his aged mother a computer so she could keep in touch with the family via email, and probably had no instruction on how to deal with spam, and wouldn’t understand how mass mailings work. Tell your grandma about spam, for your inheritance’s sake.
As and added bonus, I’ve decided to show you just how popular 419 scamming is over there.
Yup. I think the lyrics are in Pidgin English, so here is both the original and the translation into plain English.
Oh yeah. We got bags of Cracker Jacks now too.