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Made $8,000,000 dollars lately? - Part II

Mark Edwards
20-03-2003

In the first part of this article I described how the typical 419 scam is set up and how it operates as well as the financial cost of these scams. Now I will continue by looking at the non-monetary cost of this racket and what you can do to fight back!



The Victims.





Unfortunately, the people behind these scams are dangerous criminals who are more than prepared to extend their endeavours beyond obtaining money by deception.



Victims are almost always requested to travel to Nigeria or a border country to complete a transaction. Individuals are often told that a visa will not be necessary to enter the country. The Nigerian con artists may then bribe airport officials to pass the victims through Immigration and Customs. Because it is a serious offense in Nigeria to enter without a valid visa, the victim's illegal entry may be used by the fraudsters as leverage to coerce the victims into releasing funds. Violence and threats of physical harm may be employed to further pressure victims.



In June of 1995, an American was murdered in Lagos, Nigeria, while pursuing a 4-1-9 scam, and numerous other foreign nationals have been reported as missing.



On February 19, 2003 a 72-year old Czech citizen, entered the premises of the Embassy of Nigeria in Prague, shot and killed Mr. Michael Lekara Wayi, a Nigerian diplomat, as well as wounded the 37-year old receptionist in the embassy. The man had lost the bulk of his retirement savings to a Nigerian 419 con-artist and resorted to murder after visiting the embassy "regularly over the past year" trying to get his money back.



Fighting Back.



Many law enforcement agencies inluding the FBI, the US Secret Service, the National Criminal Intelligence Service of the UK and The Australian Federal Police have set up taskforces to deal specifically with the 419 scam.



If you are a victim of a 419 scam in Australia you should contact the Australian Federal Police at: er-waoc@afp.gov.au



In addition to recognised law enforcement agencies common citizens are doing their bit to combat these scammers. www.scamorama.com chronicles the efforts of many such people to both occupy the attention of the scammers (to divert them from true targets) and ultimately to try and scam the scammers! There are several notorious stories in this vein.



Buddy Weiserman, a ficticious American gentleman (who looks remarkably like Rudi the retired marine from Survivor series one) who plays the rube to embarass and harass a Nigerian "Prince".



The Kindly Contributor, who convinces the scammers to send him $3.



Pierpont Emanuel Weaver, ESQ., who scams the scammers out of 5g of gold dust.



These chronicles make highly entertaining reading.





Through all of this research it is sobering to remember that people are enticed into this scam and some lose their lives as a result of their unfettered greed, credulity and desperation.





Sources:

www.fbi.gov/majcases/fraud/fraudschemes.htm#nigerian

www.ncis.co.uk/PRESS/11_99.asp

www.scamorama.com

www.BuddyWeiserman.com - no longer in operation

www.nigeriaembassyusa.org/419statement.shtml

www.secretservice.gov/alert419.shtml

allafrica.com/stories/200303030036.html

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