Q: What is the Nigerian Internet Scam ?
A: Simple, you receive an unsolicited e-mail offering you a percentage of the proceeds of a plan to remove riches (money, diamonds, gold) from a third-world country. All you have to do is supply your bank details or deliver some cash to "facilitate" the deal and you will get a percentage for your help. It doesn't have to come from Nigeria and is sometimes called the 419 scam because of an American penal code.
Q: Is it real ?
A: No. It is a con. There are no riches, except for the perpetrator who will empty your bank account or steal the cash.
Q: If you know it is a con, why did you reply ?
A: For fun. I know it is a con and know not to reveal any details about myself other than my e-mail address, which they already know. Because of this I could pretend to be anyone I want. I sometimes pretend to be a master criminal, which may or may not be accurate. You just don't know (stokes white cat and plans world domination).
Q: If I decide to reply, what happens.
A: Initially you deal with the lowest in the organisation. They will try and get details from you to rip off your account. Do not let them have them, ignore their questions. Eventually if you make enough of a nuisance of yourself (threaten to visit the country etc.) the chances are you get passed to a "supervisor" who will try a different tack. Eventually you will get board and tell them to get stuffed.
Q: Surely I just tell them I know it is a con
A: They will then tell you it isn't. They will say all this information is lies put about by the government to stop the counties assets being smuggled out of the country.
Q: I think you are lying to keep all the action to yourself. I am going to reply to the mail and do a deal.
A: Off you go then. Please remember not to ask for sympathy when you get robbed or murdered.
Q: Isn't it terrible that this goes on. Some poor people will fall for this and not realise until it is too late.
A: Yes it is terrible. Don't worry about the poor people who fall for it though. Remember:
Here's an example of a stupid person:
Harvard University Professor Weldong Xu, 38, a former researcher
at the prestigious Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told colleagues, students and
friends that he had started a research company in China to cure Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. He managed to collect $600,000 in "investments"
from 35 people before police in Boston, Mass., caught up with him -- while he
was pressing a victim for more money in the Dana-Farber cafeteria. The SARS
research company was
a scam. So what was he doing with the money? He told police he had a "business investment" with "partners" in N&ger&a he met by e-mail, and was to collect $50 million from a horde of cash -- a classic Internet fraud. "I tried to tell him he'd been scammed, but he never caught on," said Detective Steve Blair. (Boston Globe, Boston Herald)
Q: What is the Nigerian government doing about all this ?
A: Unsurprisingly the Nigerian government isn't happy about this and is trying to close down the internet cafes these people operate out of. This is a difficult job as it is easy to set up on the web and you don't need anything more than a disk of pre-prepared letters to work it.
Q: Can I report these people to someone ?
A: Certainly, see my links page for more details.
Q: Do you get paid for doing this ?
A: No, I do it for fun. I also do it because I want these people to stop clogging the Internet up with rubbish. However if you enjoy the web site, please click on one of the adverts dotted around. It won't cost you anything but Google will give me a few cents.