Another Humorous Look at the Serious Crime of Nigerian Emails Advance Fee Fraud through Scam Baiting
One imaginative viewer liked to play mind games with the spammers by sending back responses hoping to throw them for a loop, if only temporarily. Here are a couple examples of Ken Bonnell's exercise in fictional banter.
Re: BUSINESS TRANSACTION 12/01/01
Mr. Dube, this must be important to you because I got your email twice. But I think you emailed the wrong person.
I don't know anything about handling money, especially not all those millions you're talking about. I'm 85 and retired after 65 years of raising beef cattle. Now, you want to know how to castrate a bull, I'm your man, but money I'm not so good at.
My late wife handled all our finances, God rest her soul, and when she died, Mr. Johnson told me at the funeral that she had made some really good investments and I guess he was right, because right after that I started getting four checks every month, each one worth $1,500. More money that I'll ever need, so I just keep sticking it in the bank.
In fact, I don't have any idea how much money is in that account after all this time. The bank says it's all done with something called direct deposit, I think it is, and when I need money, I just call and they send a man right over from the bank with whatever I ask for.
One time, just for a joke, I said I wanted four thousand dollars. Gosh, was I surprised when a man showed up with a little black bag chuck full of money! Kinda scared me a little, seeing all that money right there in the open and all. I took a couple hundred and told him to rush the rest of it right back to the bank and put it away.
Didn't mean to run on about all this, but you can see that I don't know much about money handling, so maybe you better find someone else to help you.
Oh, and I hope you have a fine Christmas.
Re: URGENT BUSINESS PROPOSAL 12/05/01
To: danladi musa
Okay, McIntire, you can quit the charade now. Boy, oh, boy, you guys in the FBI can get your claws into anything, right? I've been sitting in this cell for eight and a half years now and for eight and a half years I've been asking the warden for access to a computer. Up until yesterday, he always said no.
But then all of a sudden he shows up at my cell with a phony smile and spouts a bunch of trash about me being a model prisoner, and all that trash talk, and out of the goodness of his heart, not only will he let me use a computer two hours every day, but he'll toss in the internet for good measure.
It occurred to me there must be something behind his sudden generosity. It didn't take too long to figure out what it was. Every six months one of you guys and a guy from Treasury have been coming to see me regular as clockwork. And you always have the same offer, that you'll get me out of this joint if I'll just tell where I hid that $263,000. My answer was always no, and the warden always said no to computer time.
So now you guys have finally figured out that I knew all along that
when I embezzled that money from the stock firm, that I'd be caught
and sent to jail. I even knew you'd plea bargain and you did. Remember
how I smiled when you offered a sentence of only five years if I
told where the money was?
I sure remember that when I said no you got mad and said if I didn't turn over the money you'd make sure I got the maximum sentence. Well, you got your way. You didn't get the money and I got nine years.
And so here we are, McIntire, me with six months to go, and isn't it a strange coincidence that the statutes of limitations for my theft just happens to run out in six months also? Of course I knew that from the beginning and was willing to pay the price, but it looks like you guys have just figured it out and are desperate to get your hands on that money.
So who was it, McIntire, who came up with this foolish scheme to have the warden let me use a computer and the internet? Do you think I'm clever enough to figure out my financial future, jail time and all, and then dumb enough to be bragging about it on the internet with you guys monitoring everything I said? That maybe I had an accomplice and would tell them something that would lead you to the money.
Don't you just love the law, McIntire? I mean, in a short while I'll be out of here, having paid my debt to society for my wrongdoing and for which I cannot be punished again, and I'll have enough money to last me the rest of my days. I can just see you throwing things around your office as you read this.
And what a silly plan you come up with! Sending me this transparent email about some guy in a foreign country having a pile of money he has to get rid of and he's going to give me a percentage if I just give him an account number where he can wire the money. You must have thought that since I embezzled money once, I'd jump at the chance to embezzle some from this stranger.
Sure, sure, sure. I give out the number and you guys zip right in and scoop up the dough. I would have answered sooner, but had to wait until I stopped laughing, which was almost a whole day. You did have a nice touch though, with him saying he's a crook like me, and would make up phony papers that would make me the legitimate beneficiary to all that money.
No way, McIntire, no way, my friend. I know it irks the FBI, the Treasury Department and the Insurance Company that I am going to get away with it, but hey, my friend, in life there are winners and there are losers. I've been a loser long enough and when I get out of here in six months, I'll be a winner.
Okay, McIntire, forget the email games, I'm sitting tight on where the money is. I will give you one tiny hint, though, just because it's the Christmas Season: it's in a financial institution where it's been since the day I stole it, eight and a half years ago and getting 11.5% interest, compounded every six months.
It took me three years to find that company and two more years to gain their confidence enough that they finally agreed to let me open an account. I was willing to bet nine years of my life in prison to make my fortune, and I'm willing to bet six months of it that you'll never see one cent of that money.
Merry Christmas! Your favorite embezzler, KMB
I am currently pulling the legs of some Zimbabwean scamsters who think my name is Jon Arbuckle of the Garfield Lasagna Cat Food Corporation. My contact information resembles that of the US Secret Service, Financial Fraud Division :)
Cheers, Robert Brinks 09/12/02
Killing the Messenger
This is my response that I send to the 5-10 Nigerian email scams I receive everyday. I get some interesting replies, some asking for forgiveness, some actually wanting to negotiate deals.
David Gulatta 04/03
Your name has been given to me as a target to be hit for sending multiple ridiculous emails all over the world. I know that you may find this letter surprising, but people all over the world are sick and tired of receiving these scam emails.
I of course know that your intentions are purely honorable and that you would never try to run a scam on anyone. I also know that you Nigerians have millions of dollars in bank accounts. You are a very wealthy people but you keep a low profile by living in grass huts, eating berries, grasshoppers and snakes. I am very envious of you indeed.
But, I have a paid job to knock off as many of you Nigerians that send out such emails. You see I get $100 for each Nigerian scam emailer that I kill. I'm up to about 75 per week. You know I might be interested working a deal with you and split some of the profits if you turn over some of your buddies to me that also send out scam emails.
I'll give you $20 for each one that you turn over to me that I kill. The only demand I have is that when I take videos of the murder and pictures of the dead bodies, I get to keep all the profits from the sale of the photos.
What do you say? Is it a deal?
American/Italian Mob Association
Taking scammers for a ride
By Sam Varghese 11/21/03 theage.com.au
Scam-baiting isn't a particularly new online sport. There are plenty of sites devoted to it; the site whatis?com defines it as "the practice of eliciting attention from the perpetrator of a scam by feigning interest in whatever bogus deal is offered."
But the people who do it have interesting tales to tell. Mike, who resides in Europe - he didn't want to be more specific about either his name or location as he has made plenty of enemies in style over the last 12 months - has been toying with scammers and annoying them ever since he got interested.
Mike has his own website where he has detailed all his efforts to waste the time of the scam artists who bombard people's inboxes with unbelievable offers every hour.
A computer engineer by trade, Mike said he had been receiving the '419' emails on a fairly regular basis for about two years. "I didn't understand all that much about them at the time, but I was certain they were dodgy," he said.
Most of the scams involve payment of some money up front by the target and are otherwise known as Advance Fee Fraud. These frauds are known internationally as "4-1-9" fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes. The first ones had some Nigerian connection, hence the name. Now they come from every possible location.
Mike initially did nothing more than hitting the delete button whenever
he got one of the 419 emails. "Then, over a period of about
a month, the letters started to come in much more frequently (looking
back I'm sure I was dumb enough to leave my email address on someone's
Anyway, after what seemed like the hundredth 419 mail in a week, I got really frustrated and hit the reply button, and asked the person to stop sending me spam - with a few choice words added!"
And there the whole business began. "To my surprise, the guy
answered me, not taking any notice of my request, and at the same
time he sent me his passport and a dodgy certificate.
This got my curiosity up, and I did a quick Google search on the guy's name and the first site that came up was a scam-baiting site! OK, so I checked out the rest of the site and read a few letters between the scam-baiter and the scammer and thought 'I must have a go at this!'," he said.
Mike said he normally took on most of the Nigerian 419 stuff. "There are the lottery scams, but it's very hard to string these guys along for very long. They want the payout fast, and if you don't come up with the goods within a few days they quickly lose interest."
But why do it? He's quick to admit that it's mainly a time wasting exercise. "There's the added bonus of hopefully getting the scammer to pose for a stupid photograph. If I string out a scammer for a few weeks/months then it is time he's wasted which he might have spent trying to trap a real victim," he said.
"Some of them do get very annoyed, and threaten all manner of things. I've had a few voodoo curses as well, the last one being a curse to make my penis drop off in 24 hours. Thankfully, weeks later, all body parts are still fully accounted for!"
Mike said he had received over 100 submissions from other scam-baiters. "I am just one in a very long line of scam-baiters. I am not the first and certainly won't be the last," he said.
He wasn't sure what he would do if one of the people he has strung along suddenly turns up at his residence. "What would I do? Hide behind the curtains?! Seriously, I have no idea until it happens. If I knew they were coming then I would, of course, be prepared, and I'd advise any would-be scammer vigilantes not to bother as I'd have a rather large posse waiting for them." he said.
Mike's strung so many of the scammers along that he finds it difficult
to pick the most interesting of the lot. "I think the scammer
I am baiting at the moment is going to turn out to be one of my best
It is a female scammer (probably being pushed along by a male counterpart), and I have convinced her to pose topless with her breasts painted red," he said.
"With my scam-baits, I am more interested in wasting time and getting good pictures rather than making up long humorous stories. There are some scam-baiters out there who are brilliant at storytelling."
Wendy Willcox - gives them a good runaround. - need new link for Wendy's info!
How to Become Rich Dotcom by Karin and Trevor Dykes
We've posted a parody do it yourself scam template, with some instructions
regarding how to avoid this scam, at: chatmag.com/help/nigerianscam.html --
Peter J. Carr, Editor - Chatmag.com - The Interactive Guide to Chat
419 Eater - Tips and tricks for baiting Nigerian scammers.
http://j-walk.com/other/conf/index.htm - A good spoof on improving your spamming skills.
Scam Baiting Nigerian Fraud Criminals - article
The Bentinel - satirical article
Nigerian Scambaiting by Miss Young