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 Wikipedia and 419 scam warnings

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Cachuma
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

As we all know, many scam emails include names of real people, i.e. the scammer claiming to be the wife of a real foreign official who was assassinated, or some such claptrap. Often, these emails even include links to information about the person.

I was wondering if any of you have ever considered putting information about a real person's name being used in 419 scams on that person's bio page on Wikipedia. I'm suggesting this because, as Wikipedia is becoming more well-known as a research tool, it's conceivable that a potential victim might do a quick look-up on the person, to see if he or she is real. And if there happened to be info in the person's bio about how his name is being used in 419 scams, it might have the potential to cause some vic to think twice about whether or not the scam email is real.

An example is the late Prime Minister of Lebanon, Mr. Rafiq Hariri. I've recently received several scam emails in which the lad claims to be his widow, Mrs. Nazek H. Z. Hariri, and even includes a bunch of links to info about him and his assassination. It occurred to me that someone who might be fooled by this, might just do a Wiki search on Hariri, and would come up with a great bio page giving all kinds of details about his regime and assassination that would make the scam email seem even more real. So, I added a section about the use of his name in 419 scams. Hey, if it warns off even one potential vic, then I've done my job.

My question is: do you, my fellow scambaiters, see this as a worthy effort? If so, can you suggest any other names of real people whose names commonly crop up in scam emails? (I did a Wiki check on the name Charles Soludo, and fortunately there is already a mention of his name's frequent appearance in 419 scams).

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wingman
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:40 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I think this is an OUTSTANDING idea!

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crashhoot
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:58 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not. I realize that wikipedia is 'open source', but I'm not sure if this infringes on the Innocent Third Party rule.

I will say that I don't think the majority of potential victims would bother searching wikipedia. A simple google search on the 'officials' name would be more likely, and would show dozens of hits involving 419 scams.

Of course, if the majority of potential victims would even do a google search, we would be out of a job!! Wink

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Zen
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:18 am Reply with quoteBack to top

It's always good to hear new ideas for combating scams (and well done for making the suggestion) but I doubt that it will have much impact. In my experience, most scam victims don't do any research, which is one of the reasons they fall for the scam in the first place. Publishing the scam-mail in our SURPLUS 419 SCAM LETTERS forum (or similar sites, like urgentmessage or joewein) are also likely to warn off potential victims who do attempt some research.

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Roycropper
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:55 am Reply with quoteBack to top

@ Cgrashoot, surely the point of the innocent party rule is to protect them from the consequences of our baits.

If Mariam Abacha's name is used in 419's a lot, that is a fact, and her Wiki entry mentioning that, which it does, that is not slandering her, or baiting recklessly with possible consequences for her, it is recording a fact.

If that fact being on her Wiki page causes someone to question the once in a lifetime offer that they have just received, where's the harm in that?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 10:51 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I like the idea. Anything that adds to exposing the scammers, is OK for me Very Happy

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:27 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I agree with Zen. While it's laudable to devote the time to updating the Wiki entries for all the "common" names, and certainly harmless, I'd have to question whether it would have much effect.

Scam victims become victims because they don't have the nous to do their homework first anyway.
Another point is this: For every Mariam Abacha and Charles Soludo, there are hundreds of virtually unique scammer names, and variations on the theme.

For an example, one of my current pets is a Barrister Dan Pach0ng0 of Lome, Togo. He doesn't come up on any searches, but he's still as dangerous as Professor Chucky. I'd bet that if he felt he'd been rumbled at any point he'd just change his character name to Dave Pach0nga, or Doctor Daniel P0ch1ing0 or something.

Fine idea, I like your thinking, but I just get the feeling that it may be a waste of valuable time.

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Don
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:48 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Waste of time. If victims would do some basic research they wouldn't be victims in the first place - it's not like there weren't already thousands of highly informative sites out there. Not that your idea doesn't have its merits but I'm convinced your efforts could be 12 times more effective elsewhere.

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Cachuma
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:10 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Good input. I do agree that my other efforts (especially my REALLY FUN baits Laughing ) have far more impact, by tying the actual scammers up in knots.

But I tend to believe that if even one potential vic notices an entry on a Wiki page, then my efforts are worth it. I'm on Wiki all the time these days due to some of my freelance writing projects, so it's not that big a deal for me to pop a few lines into some Wiki pages.

I'd still love to get some name ideas here -- what are some common "real person" names?

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Zen
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:53 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Cachuma wrote:
what are some common "real person" names?

Mariam Abacha and Prof Charles Soludo appear regularly in scamails

The death or detention of any fabulously wealthy (or corrupt) president / dictator / tycoon is also followed by a flood of scamails involving their personal fortunes (think Yasser Arafat, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, etc)

While researching the last name, I came across this page which has a list of the most popular names abused by scammers.

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Remember: 1) Bait safely 2) Protect innocent third parties 3) Ask before using others' work 4) Don't do more work than the lads
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Cachuma
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Great list! And actually that's really helpful - it provides me with a link for the citation needed on Wiki pages.

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Alex Mandl4: The past week has been the worst in my entire life, I have lost weight, I don't sleep at night, I left my job abruptly, and do you think it has been easy for?
Master Nicholas [email protected]: I must confess that i am higly obliged to be a cretin, it is a rare privilegde.
pony pony Safari = Mr. Mandl4 & Mr. Brown, 1480 total miles: Johannesburg to Gaborone; Gaborone to Maun; Back to Gaborone; back to Johannesburg.
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johnny5
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Don't forget that even if you do put the information on wiki pages, the scammers can just as easily edit it off again. And since there are lot more scammers than there are scambaiters you may end up just chasing your tail.

One option would be to make a "private" wiki or site that details all the names in an organised searchable way sorta like the aa419 site database. Private means 'can only be edited by a select few' But as others have stated, victims don't generally research so I doubt it'd be worth the effort.

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4X1X9
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:59 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

On the wikis relating to Mohammed Abacha and Charles Soludo it has already been noted that the names are used frequently in 419 scams.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 2:13 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I like the idea too, only i dont trust wiki, they let people like me edit stuff.

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