Current Status

This blog is not frequently updated because most case-by-case scam reports are now listed in subordinate blogs. At this point in time, most of my efforts are targeted at documenting employment scams in the Suckers Wanted blog.


Info.: Trends in 419 scamming

The following information was recently posted on the Spam Research mailing list by active anti-spammer Suresh Ramasubramanian. The archives of that list are only available by subscription, so I've obtained permission from Suresh to re-publish here.

I've seen 419ers muscle in on a whole lot of things now that the "I'm the widow of a dead dictator" is so twentieth century ..

  • Buy stuff (anything from cars / pedigreed dogs to hookers^W escort services) on the Internet, pay using stolen credit cards / fake cashiers checks. Only, if the car costs $6000, he'll give you a fake check for $10000 and con you into wiring him the remaining money using western union. You fall for that and you only find out after the check is presented to the remote bank for clearing, and then bounced back.
  • Post on singles lists / bbs / newsgroups pretending to be a guy looking for friends online. Hook the friend with a lot of BS about the hard time they're facing in Nigeria, and either get them to wire some money over "as a loan", or maybe get them to sponsor the 419er for an entry visa to the States. That visa then gets used to get a scam artist into the states for random other purposes, none of which involve visiting the sucker.
  • Same thing with universities / conferences etc - any fairy story will do in order to get a visa to the states, or maybe pull fake check scams on the university admissions office or conference organizer. I see that first hand every year .. I chair the fellowships committee for the APRICOT asia pac netops conference ( Every year I get fellowship applications from obvious nigerian scam artists, each of them with weird and wonderful reasons why they want to attend the conference
  • Phishing. I'm working with western union, which is facing a rash of nigerians using standard boiler room sending techniques (lots of guys sending from free webmail accounts - we run 40 million of those) to pretend they're western union bidpay, and trying to steal id.

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