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 Most scammers probably aren't successful....

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Herp
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:54 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I've thought a bit lately, about the difference in quality between scam letters and varying levels of competence among the mugus we talk to. Quite often, especially when scambaiting was relatively new, the question was asked how in the world ANYONE could possibly fall for some of the stupid, inconsistent, obviously bogus letters sent. Usually arguments are made that some people are simply "blinded by greed" and therefore believe these scammers no matter how poorly they express themselves, but i'm starting to doubt that more and more.

Has there ever been a full e-mail documentation made public, of an actual scam victim's communication with the lad? Not a baiter, but an ACTUAL scam victim?

Add to that the fact that once an email adress gets passed around, these letters come in bunches, and who in the world would believe such a strange and unlikely offer when they get three or more similar offers from other people a few days later? Nobody could possibly ever think there was not something strange about recieving all these business offers, or could they?

The answer is, they probably don't. Nobody actually ever believes these letters. Not THESE letters. I'm thinking that the vast majority of earnings that we hear about is actually earned by "professional" Mugus who do not get their e-mail adresses from spiders, but rather from more personal recommendations. We who sit here harvesting e-mails in various way hardly ever actually get one of these letters. The real ones, the ones from the scammers that actually make money on it and that all the other, lousy wannabes look up to. The entire 419 "business" is financed by these people, not the ones on the bottom, who make up the majority in quantity only.

When these newcomers who heard all about how much money there is to make in 419 scam and how rich they might become, pay some shady person to get a disk full of e-mail adresses and a poorly written script that they sometimes make even more poorly written modifications too, rent some time in a internet cafe and start rolling, thinking they'll become "one of the big guys" any moment, because of their great talent.

Their success rate is probably so low you might actually go as far as calling them "fake scammers". The Ogas are the "real scammers".

They're pretty much getting scammed themselves. You wouldn't really hold it below those Ogas to do such a thing, would you?

Maybe in the end, the vast majority of baits we do here are actually done to the "wrong" scammers, the ones that would hardly ever get a real victim anyway? Maybe we should do something to try harder to really affect the most competent scammers, rather than clueless beginners who are themselves tricked into paying for internet cafe time and e-mail adress lists to never earn a dime.

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gargstang
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I hate to say it but people get tripped up by scams more than you may think. I see it regularly in my workplace at a financial institution.

Also, nice to see someone else from CO.
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DuraLex
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:07 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Konsomol [spelling] published the Monica scam he intercepted himslf. The victim was bled completely dry. I'll try to find it.

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jxd
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:32 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

We often poke fun with ridiculous church baits. My pastor has a friend who's congregation was taken for fifty grand. FIFTY GRAND. $50,000.00 that a scammer took from worthwhile church causes that could have actually helped people. Likely went and blew it on coke and LSD. Evil or Very Mad

</rant>

It would be interesting to see a recorded email exchange and see how long it takes, what is said, etc.

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Peanut
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

You all have read this thing, I assume?

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/05/15/060515fa_fact

I think people fall for "these kinds" of scams more often than we'd like to imagine. They aren't blind, however, about the fact that scammers from Nigeria are out there - just that THIS particular e-mail they have gotten is so different.

I imagine almost all start off skeptical, but the passports, the phone calls, the forms...all are good enough to assuage any fears. If they get another similar e-mail in their account they know that THAT must be the fake one, and congratulate themselves on being able to tell the difference.

I agree, however - it would be fascinating (though unfortunate) to read an actual transcription from a victim.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:57 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The word gets out regarding the common 419, so you see more and more variation. However, I do not agree with the OP. It is not just the very credible scams, from highly organised mugus that create victims. The ordinary 419 scam still makes victims worldwide. A lot of people here are also members of victim support sites and they can confirm that they see victims of the what you call 'less believable scams'. So unfortunately, scamming still brings in the bucks. We can only try to keep the mugus occupied and stall them as much as possible.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:00 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Herp wrote:
... Has there ever been a full e-mail documentation made public, of an actual scam victim's communication with the lad? Not a baiter, but an ACTUAL scam victim? ...


I have an entire set. All the emails, all the documents. The vic lost 140,000 Euros. He sent it all to me after I had warned him off, resp. convinced him that, yes, he had been scammed. He had sent an email to 419legal (back when that was a real site) asking for help.

The scammers were true conmen.

I don't have time to publish it just now, but take my word for it, it's unbelievable.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:02 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

the lady who LIVED across the street from my mom and dad thought she was going to marry an African Prince.

She lost her house - - and EVERYTHING sending money to him.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

A very sad read Peanut. I really feel for these people. I understand that the government is trying to put a stop to this and these people do commit acts of fraud and at time theft. It is just hard to see them going to jail knowing they are victims also. The law doesn't seem to be bringing about justice in cases like that. It is just depressing. Sad

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:38 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
Most scammers probably aren't successful....

Nobody actually ever believes these letters.

Estimated over $200 million US a year in gross profit, I guess every now and then a real rich person falls for it? That's not nothing, that must be a whole lot of people, desperate for money or attention. Or they think they can out smart the baiter. Doctors, lawyers, businessmen, when they find the right handle to work the victim, they bleed them dry.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:47 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I see that Usm4n B3llo makes an appearance in the article that Peanut posted.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I think it is probably a small percent that make the majority of the profit. Much like all over the world, a very small percentage of the people make up a large percentage of the wealth. Same principle.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:09 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Remember too that there are a lot of people who are very new to the Internet, coming online all the time. A lot of people are simply not aware, and/or are too trusting -- especially elderly people.

I have a good friend whose brother-in-law got hooked on a classic 419 scam. The guy wasn't stupid, just naive. He was hooked slowly, with small payments at first. When he got in over his head he started borrowing from family, without ever telling the full story. Everyone loaned him money, except for my friend's wife. She smelled a rat from the start. Her parents mortgaged the family farm to get money. You can guess the rest, by the time reality hit them in the face the entire family was screwed. They lost the farm after 3 generations. It was emotionally as well as financially crippling. That was 3 years ago, they're still struggling.

There are (alas!) still plenty of people who fall for these, no matter how poorly written or silly they may seem to those of us who have been active on the net for a while.

I agree that the bigger, more professional gangs have a higher success rate than the average bozo in the net cafe, but some of those smallbois do get payoffs.

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SumYunGai
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

TheGreatOok wrote:
It is just hard to see them going to jail knowing they are victims also. The law doesn't seem to be bringing about justice in cases like that.


Careful. OP began this thread with a statement very similar in sentiment: the mugus may well be the victims of oga "scams"; they pay the ogas for internet time (what better "legitimate" business is there for an oga to sink his money into?) mailing lists and every fake check, money order, etc they send.

This is the business of fraud. Fraudsters turn their victims into fraudsters themselves. The difference is that the victims are usually lousy criminals in the jurisdiction of a government that cares about fraud. People who steal from others deserve punishment. It is sad that a person who steals was doing so to pay someone who was in turn stealing from them, but that doesn't negate the wrong done by the theft, at any level.

What we do is make it that much more difficult to earn a dishonest dollar. Whoever is on the other end, we waste their time and money, time and money they then cannot use to scam real people. If we're lucky enough to really hook someone, we can make him waste thousands of dollars and weeks of his time on safari. Is this scamming scammers? yes. Do they deserve it? Yes.

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luckey
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:55 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I've never seen a break down, but I'd guess a lot more people fall for the check mule and lottery scams than the "trunk box" style scams.

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SumYunGai
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ It would make sense. Instead of the vic sending money (EVERYONE knows that's how these scams work Rolling Eyes ), the scammer sends the vic a check. Hey, free money, and the vic gets his first. The check clears, the vic sends the scammer his cut, and in some cases it can be weeks before the bank realizes they've been had and goes after - you guessed it - the vic. You are however far more likely to fall for this scam if you really are the stereotypical greedy vic.

Out of all the scams, the most insidious is probably the "I'm dying and need you to sponsor my children" begging scam. This is the one that I think would take the most people for the most money; the people who would fall for this one aren't expecting any payoff. They are paying money toward a noble cause, or so they think, and the knowledge that they're being charitable (and tax-deductible) is its own reward. Then they start getting messages like "your sponsored child is in hospital and we need you to pay for his care". The vic doesn't care, or perhaps they are promised recompense from the Nigerian government health program. They pay the extra money as the kid goes into intensive care, contracts AIDS, and runs up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. If you fall for this at the beginning, you are very quickly hooked deep. These scams take advantage of the nicest people, who only want to do a good thing, and when the ride's over they're cleaned out.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I do agree with where Herp's coming from. How do we know that the guys we bait aren't just the low-level scammers who aren't really the biggest threat to victims? As a baiter I've found it really tempting to divert my scammer away from what he was originally talking about really early in the piece, which means that you can get some really awesome baits out of it, but it also means that your success rate is really really low (and that the smartest lads, those who do make the money, slip through your fingers).

What do we think are the best ways of getting to the "Oga", the guys at the top who actually are the most successful scammers? Should we look to focus more on these guys, rather than the dumbest lads who fall for us when we divert the scammer early on in the piece and he falls for it?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:05 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@Luckey

Mary Winkler, the Tennessee woman who last year, shot and killed her preacher husband, was a victim of a check cashing scam.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If you want to see the pain of people caught in the trap of these scams, looky here. The desperation of some of the posters is just heart wrenching.

When I get to feeling lazy in my baiting, or feel "sorry" for the Mugus, Embarassed I take a read of real live victims.

I snap right out of my malaise. Shocked

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@SumYunGai - I am not lad hugging be sure of that. I just feel sometimes the wrong people are punished for more than they should be. I am not saying they are innocent either. I just don't feel like true justice is served by a lot of these sentences. It is just my opinion though.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I too find it hard to believe that people fall for these scams as there's usually so many clues that it's all a scam (yahoo addresses, crap english, stupid excuses, the way they DEMAND money, the way it's always you who has to pay, the way they expect you to give out sensitive personal info after a couple of mails, the way they get mad when you ask them a few questions, the way mails from the bank come at the same time as the lawyer and the inside man etc etc etc), but I guess some people just get caught unaware. I doubt every scammer makes money (I have a few who I'm sure are dealing with me only, I dont think they'd have time for anyone else), but obviously enough of them do for a lot of innocent people to lose money otherwise 419 wouldnt be a problem, and the scammers wouldnt be scamming.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 2:13 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Wasn't there a thread exactly like this a week or two ago?

Anyway scams are incredibly easy to pull off if you find the right victims which of course scammers always will because they mass mail so many.
If you don't believe that, do a google video search for 'the real hustle'.

I think people see the clues in front of them but make up excuses, possibly blinded by the prospect of the windfall that's apparently coming to them.
Bad grammer can be explained by the sender's location. The swift movement for details might reassure the victim that this will be a quick and painless process. Aggression could be put down to the pressure the scammer is under to get this money out before anyone notices. All the clues can be relatively easily explained away by someone who wants to believe hard enough.
Then you likely have denial and the suppression of common sense, partly because the victim wants it to be true.
With the small amounts at first it's a case of "well it's worth a try I guess".

If you read / watch the occasional docus that cover it, you'll find how friendly the scammers are, how they're you're mate and they're risking everything just like you. Put everything together and it's not as clear cut as it might first seem.

I used to believe that victims were genuinly stupid/greedy and deserved it (and in some exceptional cases I still do - e.g. posing as a 9/11 nok), but having seen just how intelligent some of these scammers are, and the large number of variations on the original theme, I don't think stupid anymore, just.. unlucky.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 2:26 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I have read several exchanges between victim and scammer that a baiter has intercepted. No special script, same old.

I like to work with more solid foundations than presumptions and speculation.

This is why I believe it follows a natural law of commerce:

Supply and Demand.

If they weren't making money out of it, they wouldn't do it. It truly is as simple as that.

Maybe a few would because they continually think they are doing well, but the fact is, it costs money to do this, it is a business.

If at the end of the week/month/year they have spent more than they have made, they're not going to continue with it. On top of that, many of the lads I have encountered are university educated and can probably get jobs elsewhere.

Perhaps you're right, but I have my doubts. Of all the victims I've read about they all speak of receiving what they thought was a personal letter but was revealed to be a general scam-mail. Who knows, maybe we are baiting the lowest in the scam food chain... but the more we dissuade from scamming by baiting the less minnows the ogas have to do their dirty work and the less they'll make overall.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 2:32 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The Winkler case got to me and I never even thought that it was so much of this activity until I came here. It makes my blood boil with anger. Mad

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jxd
Master of Master Baiters


Joined: 09 Jul 2007
Posts: 756
Location: Altered by observation


PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:25 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Red wrote:
This is why I believe it follows a natural law of commerce:

Supply and Demand.


Actually a law of economics but that's just being picky. Here's another economic rule which will always be balanced:

Number of Firms(in this case scammers) = profit to be made/(expense to firm X risk)

Therefore to decrease scams one must only lower their profits, raise their expenses, or increase their risk level. I think we are doing a fine job at all three and therefore making a decent impact. Smile

All the while entertaining ourselves for free!

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