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 Personal Experience with 419 scams

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BigEnough
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Joined: 07 Aug 2010
Posts: 2


PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi guys, i've been a huge fan of this site for years, i cant even count how many hours i've spent reading the scambaiting archives. I always seemed to think that these scams were the most ridiculous idea ever, i could never understand how anyone could possible fall for them. I had a friend who worked at a bank who assured me that he had to constantly advise customers to not fall for these scams, but i never knew anyone personally who did.

Over the last couple of months though i started to learn that my oddball uncle has fallen for them....multiple times. His story is that he was always a little nutty, but he went off to vietnam in the 60s, and came back pretty much whacked out. Spent some time in a mental hospital, even went to jail a few times. He seems normal enough to not be a threat now, just.....well, very odd. Anyways, apparently over the last couple of years he's been taken time and time again by these 419 scams. I mean it's not like he was burnt just once and learned his lesson, it's happened several times, it's STILL happening. In fact, he's known to be something of a mooch, and he likes to crash at relatives places for a while, but nobody will let him stay at their places anymore just for the sole reason that he uses their computers and phones to communicate with these damn scammers. To this day some of my relatives still get calls from nigeria on their home phones.

He's been told many times that this is all just a scam, he refuses to believe it. Heck, even this thanksgiving i listened to him talk to a scammer on his cell phone, after he got off the phone my other uncle remarked "Still doing those africa scams?" to which my crazy uncle chuckled and said "Scam....yeah right!" sarcastically, then remarked how he's going to be laughing at us all when he's rich and on a beach. I even met him last night at a wedding, and he offered to take me to africa with him when his deal goes through, for a vacation. He apparently has a somewhat comfortable income from disability and pensions and all that, but he lives out of his car and at homeless shelters most of the time, all his money basically goes to africa. Everyone seems to agree if he just stopped giving them money....he probably could afford to just sit on a beach and relax for the rest of his life.

I'm not asking for advice on how to make him stop or anything. People far better than me have tried that, and quite obviously all these scams he's fallen for are just a symptom of some all sorts of larger issues he has. He's basically addicted to a fantasy for some reason, others have given him indefinite proof that these are scams, but he refuses to believe it.

So...no real point to this, just to let you know that as stupid as these scams seems, people DO fall for them, and i think you guys do a lot of good at least just wasting these guys time.

I also had an idea of trying to reverse scambait my uncle, like get his email address and act like a scammer, jerk him around a for a while then let him know it's all just a scam....but i dont have the creativity or time to do it. I'd hand the idea off to someone else, but i dont know how ethical they'd be, as i just said he WILL send money and stuff if you ask him to, so i'm not real comfortable giving someone else that open window.
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Bart Fargo
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Joined: 22 May 2010
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:29 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Welcome to the site BigEnough.

Sorry to hear about your uncle. But if is going to keep doing this regardless of help that has been offered to him, best thing to do really let him do his thing. I know that is hard because he's family, but I am not sure if there really is a way (legally) that you can intervine. I'm not sure it's encouraged either to do a reverse scam with him. (That would be a question for the mods) The best thing really is to join us and waste the time of these bastards. Read up on Eater University, all the stickies, bait safe as we tell everybody and have fun. Get a mentor too if you like, and ask questions galore. You'll find everybody here quite helpful!!

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thedevguy67
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Joined: 10 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Welcome BigEnough. I'm very sorry to hear about your uncle. This criminals are ruthless and real people do fall prey to scams and lose everything.

Once place you can go refer to for help with your situation is Scamwarners. www.scamwarners.com. There are a lot of wonderful folks and resources there to help you

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Mega Bandit
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Joined: 04 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:10 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

One thing you could do is try to get the email address of one of his scammers. IF you can do that, then email the scammer, yourself, under a fake name, posing as another potential victim. After getting several emails from the scammer in which he is clearly feeding you the same story as the one he's feeding your uncle, then show the emails to your uncle to prove the scammer is not dealing exclusively with him, but with anyone willing to pay.

I wish you the best of luck in convincing your uncle he's being scammed. Ethically speaking, I think that comes before anything else; the question of pretending to be a scammer is a matter of how likely it is to convince him he's been had by real scammers. In my opinion, it sounds unlikely to work, and would mess up your relationship with him if he learned it was you. There are probably better ways to go about it.

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BigEnough
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Joined: 07 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Mega Bandit wrote:

I wish you the best of luck in convincing your uncle he's being scammed. Ethically speaking, I think that comes before anything else; the question of pretending to be a scammer is a matter of how likely it is to convince him he's been had by real scammers. In my opinion, it sounds unlikely to work, and would mess up your relationship with him if he learned it was you. There are probably better ways to go about it.


Sorry for the late reply, uncle sam owns my ass, so sometimes i disappear for weeks on end mysteriously.

As for there being any hope to showing him that these are scams, no there is none. People have been telling him this for years, they've given him proof. Heck, you'd think them taking off with his money might be proof enough, but w/e. I'm sure deep down he probably knows it's all a hoax but....i dunno...he just wants to believe i guess.

It's sad for me because not only is he a relative, but he's a veteren, and that strikes a cord with me. We're a military family, heck this guy has a son who's a master chief in the navy, two brothers that are colonels, plenty of young officers as nephews, etc. To see someone who should be treated so well and here he is living in a damned oldsmobile and sending all his money off to africa. I dont think any of the great writers this world has seen could make something as ridiculous up if they wanted too.

Hadnt occured to me to get into scambaiting myself. But...yeah, i think i will. I dont have much free time, but i'll study up. I need to get in touch with my inner idiot anyways, been too busy and too serious for too long. I'm going to think of something to do with my uncle too, it might be a while, if anythings worth doing it's worth doing right, but i'm going to think of something funny to do with him.
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TheDane
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Joined: 13 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:55 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

BigEnough wrote:
Hadnt occured to me to get into scambaiting myself. But...yeah, i think i will. I dont have much free time, but i'll study up. I need to get in touch with my inner idiot anyways, been too busy and too serious for too long.


If nothing else, it's a great way to get back at those wankers. And who knows, maybe we can arrange something special for your uncle's scammers. Wink
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Juan Freizwidatt
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
but i'm going to think of something funny to do with him.


I don't know what you mean by doing something "funny" with your uncle, but I hope you're not intending to bait him in any way. His story is indeed a sad one but if he refuses to accept help there's unfortunately not much you can do.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:40 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Greetings and welcome to Eater, BigEnough!

First of all, thank you, BigEnough, and your family, for your service. Because of your sacrifices, we are able to enjoy our freedoms.

I, too, am sorry to hear about your uncle's situation. I second what DevGuy said, please do get in touch with the good people at our sister site, Scamwarners.com -- they have extensive experience in situations like your and your uncle's, and can offer you sound advice. Let them guide you in how to deal with things. I don't think that baiting your uncle to prove they are scammers is a good idea, but that's just my opinion. I agree with Mega Bandit, it's not likely to work anyway, and could alienate your uncle even further.

Please know that people from all walks of life, rich and poor and everything in between, fall for scammers every single day. Not just veterans and pensioners, etc., but also bankers, lawyers, doctors -- you name it and I'll bet the folks at Scamwarners have seen it. It's hardest when the person is a relative (I know this from experience). People are complicated, and when a relative is telling them something is 'off', it is usually that relative they will trust the least. After all, the scammers tell them what they *want* to hear, relatives don't.

Again, welcome, and as Bart Fargo said, read all of the stickies and the tutorials in Eater U, and sign up for a mentor. Our mentors are awesome, and will help you get on your feet in no time. Everyone here is very helpful, and if there's a way to 'entertain' the scammers, you can trust that we'll all do our part in bringing them joy. Twisted Evil

ETA: Juan slipped in while I was composing my diatribe, with excellent advice.

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