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 Scambaiting in the news (Belgium)

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Baiting Guru

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:35 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Scambaiting appears to be quite popular in Belgium nowadays. Monday there was an episode from 'Basta' (investigative journalism-ish) (Previous thread here) which is now being followed by a few articles. I found two articles in newspapers about baiting, and in one of those 419eater receives a mention! Very Happy The translated articles are below:

Note: 'Basta' is the name of the TV-program, 'Neveneffecten' the name of the four guys that did it.
Police will chase down 'Basta'-scammer.

Mr Kabba, the accomplice shown last monday in Basta of a dubious gold seller from Burkina Faso, may soon expect a visit from the police. The Federal Police plans to use the tapes of the program and hunt down Kabba and his bosses for fraud.

BRUSSELS - 'We can't act like Basta and respond to proposals from Internet fraudsters", says Sara Segaert from the federal computer crime unit (FCCU). "The police can only act when an offense was committed. Otherwise we are guilty of incitement."

The boys of Basta have done it again. They previously targeted fraudulent tv games, Sabam and Mobistar customer service came under fire and in their last episode they went hunting for internet fraudsters. The past few months Neveneffecten gladly accepted proposals for huge inheritances or other projects (generally in West Africa), upon providing an advance fee.

At least, they promised they would. "With fake email addresses, we have stringed a couple of crooks along," said Jelle De Beule. ‘Including a man who claimed he could deliver 'gold dust', but asked for an exorbitant amount.’

An accomplice, a certain Mr Kabba, would come to Brussels to pick up the money.
Neveneffecten used that meet to give the scammer a taste of his own medicine. In an increasingly absurd scene, including a mafia family patriarch, two dwarfs and a pony, Kabba's patience was tested to the limit.

Afterwards the accomplice disappeared, without the promised money. "We did not report him to the police", De Beule added. "Maybe in a kind of misplaced sympathy." After all, we have been yanking his chain for quite a while.” Although, De Beule is "almost one hundred percent" sure that Kabba is indeed a fraudster. "He lied constantly about his name and residence and was clearly prepared to swindle millions from businessmen.”

By investigative research -read: by googling -Neveneffecten found the real name and address of the accomplice. "In that case, we would like to know," says Sarah Segaert, section chief Internet research and e-fraud in the FCCU. "If Basta does not provide us the info, we shall come and get it ourselves."

The statement by Neveneffecten that Kabba has done "nothing illegal" is wrong according Segaert. "Attempting to defraud is punishable, if there is some start of execution. Sending out mails promising huge amounts which shall be provided upon payment of a financial compensation, is indeed the beginning of a scam."
Skimming sites proactively and luring them to us is impossible for the FCCU. "We can only react, when an offense was committed. Only when a trial court has given permission to use special investigative methods, we can set a trap."

Internet Fraud Hotline

With its e-portal the FCCU only serves as hotline for complaints about Internet fraud. They do not conduct investigations themselves. "That is a task for the local or federal police," said Segaert. "Any fraud or fraud attempt must be reported, after which we decide whether there is enough evidence to investigate the case."
The fact remains that reporting a 'Nigerian scam' is useful. " One e-mail will not change anything, but combined with other reports a forward to the e-portal of the FCCU might be useful to get the bigger picture," said Segaert, who admits that most investigations handling Internet die a silent death. "Especially with scammers from West Africa. The exchange of information goes slow and the local authorities do not consider it as a priority."

Scambaiters started doing the same years ago

Basta did it once, but to scambaiters – who lure scammers and internet fraudsters – this is a daily occupation: Communicating with scammers by using fake e-mail addresses to string them along. In the daily life xxxxxxxx works in IT, but when he arrives home in the evening, he starts mailing with scammers. For fun. And, so he says, to protect victims. “While they’re spending time on me, they aren’t focusing on other victims. Right now I’m mailing with two scammers that want my money. I spend about an hour every day baiting.
Don’t they realise they won’t get any money? “I hope not. There lies the pride of the baiter: how good are you? My personal record is two year. Twice I was able to string scammers along for two years. Consider it a hobby”
Scambaiters protect themselves with untraceable e-mail addresses. They never provide their real identity and only use skype to call them. Another main rule: never meet. “There are stories in which people got beat up or abducted because they didn’t have money on them on the actual meet”, according to xxxxxxxxxxxx. “Scammers sell your e-mail address and before you know it you’re inundated with scam letters.”
“I receive about 300 mails each day”, says xxxxxxxx. “I select them by genre, I’ve installed a filter so I can choose the ones I like, like the spamming widows. Right now I’m baiting scammers pretending to belong to a local bank. I really find those offensive.”

And, the second one where 419eater gets mentioned:


xxxxxx already warned 20 people

Man hunts down internet scammers as a hobby

The African scammer shown in the tv-program ‘Basta’ was lucky not to fall into the hands of ‘scambaiters’, a group of hobbyists who fight these scammers with equal weapons and ridicule them. “I’ve been stringing some of them along for two years”, says xxxxxxx.

xxxxxxxx, who works in IT and lives in xxx has been a scambaiter for almost three years. ‘I once received a mail in which they promised me an enormous treasure. Instead of deleting it, I accepted the offer. I wanted to know how those scammers get their victims to send them money.’
xxxxxxx enjoyed the game of questions and answers and soon he joined, an international organisation of scambaiters with melodious names as ‘Aksi Dent’. 419 refers to the Nigerian Penal Code which handles about internet fraud.
Scambaiters have different goals. Keeping the scammers busy as long as possible, to prevent them from making other victims. “There is a baiter that has had his scammer on the hook for over 5 years, and the scammer still thinks he has a payment coming up. This means that you have to come up with very good and credible storylines. When it is too obvious, it’s no surprise that the scammer will break off all contact.”
“If we encounter any victims, we warn them”, says xxxxxxxxxx. “I’ve saved 20 people that way. They were on the verge of sending money to scammers.”

Ridicule them
And then there is the so-called trophy-aspect, the somewhat controversial showpiece of the scambaiters. “It is the goal to convince the scammer that he, as a sign of his goodwill and honesty, has to send a picture of himself. A picture on which the scammer, without realising, makes a complete ass out of himself.
xxxxxxx tells his scammers that he is a minister of the ‘Church of Pathetic Lads’, and asks the scammers to become a member as well. As proof, they need to send a picture. Some of his colleagues aren’t that subtle and let the scammer send (semi-)nude pictures with sexually tinted messages. Those pictures end up in the Trophy Room at 419eater.
“I’ve also told scammers I was going to travel to their country, after which they were awaiting my arrival at the airport.. in the middle of the night. Or I tell them I have transferred money, and that they need to visit a special website to get the secret code in order to be capable of receiving the money. The thing is, we created that website ourselves just for the purpose of wasting as much of their time as possible. And when they finally get the so-called password after many hours of surfing, their pc crashes instantaneously.

An hour every day
xxxxxx, who spends about an hour every day doing his bizarre hobby, absolutely has no pity with the scammers that fall for his trap. “Every single one of them are people that won’t hesitate to steal every last penny of gullible people.” There’s one thing baiters never do. “Never ever do we meet scammers, like the guys in Basta did. There are stories of people that got beaten up or were kidnapped when it became apparent they didn’t bring any money. For that reason we take a lot of care of our privacy by using non-traceable email addresses.
The fact that people still fall for scammers is no surprise to xxxxx. There are more and more scenario’s. Right now there are the lottery letters, the emails in which you have won an apartment. And then there are the so-called love scams: mails of ‘lonely women’ with which Eastern-European gangs try to scam lonely men. Really disgusting.”

I wouldn't be surprised if this means that we're going to have a lot of new members from The Low Countries soon Very Happy A big congrats to all those involved! Very Happy

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Last edited by Caligula on Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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Master Baiter

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:42 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Excellent reading matter,many thanks.

a mafia family patriarch, two dwarfs and a pony

Now there's a party I'd have liked an invite to!

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Baiting Guru

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:25 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Welcome Belgians! Great to have you here one and all!

Good find Caligula, and actually pretty decent articles, better than anything I've seen in the UK press at least!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Very nice articles and thanks for posting them, Caligula.

Welcome to all new members from Belgium (and anywhere else)! Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:59 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Great find Caligula. I would also like to welcome all of our new members to 419Eater. I hope that they pull up a chair, read some stickies, roll up their sleeves and join us in baiting scammers.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:10 am Reply with quoteBack to top

This is super, Caligula! Wink

Hi, woodyuk and welcome to the facility. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:23 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ You should look more closely at his avatar and tag.

He's been around about as long as you. Just being very quiet and sneaky.

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