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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Internet Scammers Keep Working in Nigeria

    Day in, day out, a strapping, amiable 24-year-old who calls himself Kele B. heads to an Internet cafe, hunkers down at a computer and casts his net upon the cyber-waters.

    Blithely oblivious to signs on the walls and desks warning of the penalties for Internet fraud, he has sent out tens of thousands of e-mails telling recipients they have won about $6.4 million in a bogus British government "Internet lottery."

    "Congratulation! You Are Our Lucky Winner!" it says.

    So far, Kele says, he has had only one response. But he claims it paid off handsomely. An American took the bait, he says, and coughed up "fees" and "taxes" of more than $5,000, never to hear from Kele again.

    Festac Town, a district of Lagos where the scammers ply their schemes, has become notorious for "419 scams," named for the section of the Nigerian penal code that outlaws them.

    In Festac Town, an entire community of scammers overnights on the Internet. By day they flaunt their smart clothes and cars and hang around the Internet cafes, trading stories about successful cons and near misses, and hatching new plots.

    Festac Town is where communication specialists operating underground sell foreign telephone lines over which a scammer can purport to be calling from any city in the world. Here lurk master forgers and purveyors of such software as "e-mail extractors," which can harvest e-mail addresses by the million.

    Now, however, a 3-year-old crackdown is yielding results, Nigerian authorities say.

    Nuhu Ribadu, head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, says cash and assets worth more than $700 million were recovered from suspects between May 2003 and June 2004. More than 500 suspects have been arrested, more than 100 cases are before the courts and 500 others are under investigation, he said.

    The agency won its first big court victory in May when Mike Amadi was sentenced to 16 years in prison for setting up a Web site that offered juicy but phoney procurement contracts. Amadi cheekily posed as Ribadu himself and used the agency's name. He was caught by an undercover agent posing as an Italian businessman.

    This month the biggest international scam of all — though not one involving the Internet — ended in court convictions. Amaka Anajemba was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison and ordered to return $25.5 million of the $242 million she helped to steal from a Brazilian bank.

    The trial of four co-defendants is to start in September.

    Why Nigeria? There are many theories. The nation of 130 million, Africa's most populous, is well educated, and English, the lingua franca of the scam industry, is the official language. Nigeria bursts with talent, from former NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon to Nobel literature laureate Wole Soyinka.

    But with World Bank studies showing a quarter of urban college graduates are unemployed, crime offers tempting career opportunities — in drug dealing, immigrant-trafficking, oil-smuggling, and Internet fraud.

    The scammers thrived during oil-rich Nigeria's 15 years of brutal and corrupt military rule, and democracy was restored only six years ago.

    "We reached a point when law enforcement and regulatory agencies seemed nonexistent. But the stance of the present administration has started changing that," said Ribadu, the scam-busting chief.

    President Olusegun Obasanjo is winning U.S. praise for his crackdown. Interpol, the FBI and other Western law enforcement agencies have stepped in to help, says police spokesman Emmanuel Ighodalo, and Nigerian police have received equipment and Western training in combating Internet crime and money-laundering.

    Experts say Nigerian scams continue to flood e-mail systems, though many are being blocked by spam filters that get smarter and more aggressive. America Online Inc. Nicholas Graham says Nigerian messages lack the telltale signs of other spam — such as embedded Web links — but its filters are able to be alert to suspect mail coming from a specific range of Internet addresses.

    Also, the scams have a limited shelf life.

    In the con that Internet users are probably most familiar with, the e-mailer poses as a corrupt official looking for help in smuggling a fortune to a foreign bank account. E-mail or fax recipients are told that if they provide their banking and personal details and deposit certain sums of money, they'll get a cut of the loot.

    But there are other scams, like the fake lotteries.

    Kele B., who won't give his surname, says he couldn't find work after finishing high school in 2000 in the southeastern city of Owerri, so he drifted with friends to Lagos, where he tried his hand at boxing.

    Then he discovered the Web.

    Now he spends his mornings in Internet cafes on secondhand computers with aged screens, waiting "to see if my trap caught something," he says.

    Elekwa, a chubby-faced 28-year-old who also keeps his surname to himself, shows up in Festac Town driving a Lexus and telling how he was jobless for two years despite having a diploma in computer science.

    His break came four years ago when the chief of a fraud gang saw him solve what seemed like "a complex computer problem" at a business center in the southeastern city of Umuahia and lured him to Lagos.

    He won't talk about his scams, only about their fruits: "Now I have three cars, I have two houses and I'm not looking for a job anymore."
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk
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    I usually thank them for the heads up, then inform them that I used U.S. Embassy connections to make the transaction myself, and that I left a finders fee with the country's secret police.
    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  3. #3
    Eruption batch's Avatar
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    I'll go to nigeria by the end of august, for one week...
    Be ready for my new amp "III OSIS" produced by H^3 in stores soon [that was funny in 2006]

    http://myspace.com/danielbacic ...actually not anymore

    www.bacic-tech.com ...gone
    www.viba-sas.it ...website of my old company... gone.

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 05:57 AM
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    What kind of dumbass actually replies to those emails? They deserve to get ripped off.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

    www.geocaching.com - The site where you are the search engine.

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk FORD's Avatar
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    10.22.17 @ 08:55 PM
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    Gotta give em credit for creativity though. These guys write a new scam letter every week.
    Eat Us And Smile

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  6. #6
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeoHalen
    What kind of dumbass actually replies to those emails? They deserve to get ripped off.
    Grandparents / Great Grandparents who are newly online to keep in contact with immediate family that have spread throughout America.. Same goes for widowed women and men in their 60's and up.. People who did not grow up with such technology and just don't know any better...
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk TheresOnlyOneWay's Avatar
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    UCI Psychiatrist Bilked by Nigerian E-Mails, Suit Says

    Dr. Louis A. Gottschalk lost perhaps $3 million over 10 years in the scam, his son alleges in court documents.
    By William Lobdell, Times Staff Writer
    March 2, 2006

    A renowned psychiatrist from UC Irvine was duped into squandering at least $1.3 million of his family's fortune on a Nigeria Internet scam, according to a lawsuit recently filed by his son.

    The son, also an Orange County doctor, said his father — Dr. Louis A. Gottschalk — gave as much as $3 million over a 10-year period in response to an Internet plea that promised the doctor a generous cut of a huge sum of cash trapped in African bank accounts in exchange for money advances.


    The court documents, filed last month in Orange County Superior Court, allege Gottschalk even traveled to Africa to meet a shadowy figure known as "The General."

    Gottschalk — who at 89 still works at the UCI campus medical plaza that bears his name — said in court papers that the losses were caused by "some bad investments."

    Guy Gottschalk is asking a judge to remove his father as administrator of the $8-million family partnership that was set up for tax purposes after the death of his mother in 1993. A hearing is set for March 14.

    The suit alleges that Louis Gottschalk destroyed bank records to cover up the amount of his losses.

    "While it seems unlikely, even ludicrous, that a highly educated doctor like [Gottschalk] would fall prey to such an obvious con, that is exactly what happened," wrote Guy Gottschalk's attorney in court papers.

    Louis Gottschalk and his attorney declined to comment, but they accuse Guy Gottschalk in court documents of carrying out an unspecified "vendetta" against his father. The son lost an earlier court effort to have a conservator oversee the family partnership.

    Fred W. Anderson, a Santa Ana lawyer who represents Guy Gottschalk, said neither he nor his client would comment except to say, "This is an unfortunate and sad situation."

    In court papers, Guy Gottschalk said his only motive was "to prevent Louis Gottschalk from continuing to be victimized by these devious Nigerian scams."

    The Nigerian Internet scam — known in some circles as 419 after the Nigerian statute that outlaws fraud — is a long-running con that preys on people with e-mail accounts. Though there are scores of variations, the con begins with an unsolicited message from Nigeria or other African nation — usually from an alleged government official, banker or businessman who needs to find a way to get millions of dollars out of his country.

    If the target of the sting agrees to set up a United States bank account and pay transfer fees and other charges, he's told that he'll get a substantial portion of the money once it is freed up.

    Though many of the alleged Nigerian e-mails originate in other countries, Nigerian government officials said more than $700 million relating to 419 crimes had been seized in the last two years. Twelve people have been convicted in connection with the scam during that time, officials said.

    While Nigerian solicitation e-mails are ubiquitous in cyberspace, the number of people in the United States who fall for the con is small, according to National White Collar Crime Center figures.

    In 2005, 290 cases involving the Nigerian scam made up only 0.3% of the total complaints of Internet fraud lodged with the government. The median reported loss was $5,000.

    But John Kane, research manager for the National White Collar Crime Center, said people blinded by greed continue to wire their money overseas.

    "Although this scam has been around for years," he said, "you continue to see some people who forget the adage, 'If it's too good to be true, it probably is,' and fall prey to a get-rich-quick mentality."

    Anthony Pratkanis, a UC Santa Cruz scholar and author of "Weapons of Fraud," said his studies show that cyberspace scam artists are adept at exploiting a victim's weakness, whether it's diminished mental capacity, greed or compassion.

    "Then there's a line that gets crossed when they send in the money and then they're caught in a rationalization trap," Pratkanis said. "One way to convince yourself the scam is for real is to send more money, ironically enough."

    In the Gottschalk case, both the amount of the alleged losses and the reputation of the victim set it apart.
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  8. #8
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Dumbass.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

    www.geocaching.com - The site where you are the search engine.

  9. #9
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    I've gotten these and reported them to Fraud Watch International.

    I also replied to these a-holes (the scammers, not FWI) with a strongly worded email to let them know what I thought of their little scams.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One



  10. #10
    Baluchitherium JWS_5150's Avatar
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    http://www.419eater.com/

    It's amazing what you can get some of these scammers to do if you put your mind to it.
    I'm one of those crazies on your block.

    writing

  11. #11
    Eruption Onirb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWS_5150
    http://www.419eater.com/

    It's amazing what you can get some of these scammers to do if you put your mind to it.

    The trophy room is the best!

 

 

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