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 Is 419 evolving?

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ateabanah
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:04 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I've just thought to myself recently "What ARE the new statistics regarding the success rate of 419 scammers?" I know back in 2002-2007 the media claims "thousands" of people are scammed every year. But somehow, I feel that this isn't accurate nowadays, at least by traditional email. I'm no census bureau or polling company, but this is just my guess.

Which brings me to my next point. Is 419 scamming evolving? More importantly are we, as baiters, evolving as well? It seems that scammers are still using email, obviously. But branching off to craigslist, facebook, and any other desperate means to make a quick buck. I would only guess that in time, they would migrate from email being their primary playground.

After this current facebook bait I'm doing, which is probably the most rewarding and exciting bait I've had in a while, I'm starting to think that they ARE migrating from email to other means. But how long will we stay caught up on email? I also have a hunch that it seems safari's and other trophies seem more seldom, in comparison to the old days when there weren't so many "gmail jokers" out there.

I'm sure I'll get some "thinking too hard" responses, or responses that i'm missing something, and we are evolving with them. Or something related. But any thoughts anyway? Even if it's to show me the other side of the fence. I'm a person of compromise afterall..unless you're asking for money through WU or MG Twisted Evil

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Raga Man
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:09 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

It seems to be scammers will find a way to use whatever medium is currently available to work their game. Before the days of email, chain letters and other forms of fraud were circulated through the mail. Now they have moved on to take advantage of things like facebook and Craig's List. Whatever comes after facebook I'm sure the scammers will find a way to leverage that medium as well.

I'm not seeing any reduction in the number of scam emails hitting my catcher account. Given the economies of scale email provides, I can't see this method of scamming fading away any time soon - it is just too cheap and easy to distribute scam formats to thousands of people.

Generally speaking, I think the lads have become more aware of baiters (or, to use their term, "jokers") and, therefore, more cautious about spending significant resources. I have made the point several times recently that, in my opinion, it is very important to appear as legitimate a victim as possible. I am convinced that anonymous emails (like gmail), strange names, requests for photos, etc. are often viewed as possible evidence of a "joker". I think it is a mistake to assume that most lads are ignorant fools who can be mocked and ridiculed at will.

I remember very recently someone here mentioned that a lad actually checked the list of emails adies he sent his format to and when he didn't find the baiter's addy, accused him of being a joker. I think that is still pretty rare but it indicates that some lads are becoming very sensitive to baiters and taking precautions against wasting their time.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I tend to agree with Raga Man and try to present as professional appearance as I can with my characters of lawyers, financial advisers, the bank, the accounting firm, film production group, et al, and when I am posing as a victim I try very hard to think from that persona. That is not to say that the forms I use in my own baits are 100% professional as I do toss in a "few" (just a few) unusual questions. In my own personal baits I don't like to use slaps or insults, when I do it is careful crafted so that the lad is apologizing -- and it works.

A bait that seemed to end 4 months ago whereby I told him in a subtle way that we could not continue with the transaction because of this, that and the other, carefully crafted that it was not a slap or insult. GUESS WHAT? After a 4-month absence, he is back!

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jpaper007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

There was a story online here in San Diego about a "Grandparents Scam". Where the lads pretend to be the nephew and he is in jail in Mexico. The couple lost $12,000(US). I will post the news article in a separate thread.
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Raga Man
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:41 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Welcome to eater, jpaper! The type of scam you are talking about is what lads typically do when they are able to phish or hack someone's email account. Once they gain access, they send an email to everyone on the person's contact list telling them they are stranded and need money. Of course the victims think the email came from someone they know personally. I suspect this is a particularly effective form of scamming but it isn't your typical Advance Fee Fraud.

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ateabanah
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I almost never play a professional role. Typically i'm either a Rev Father, or I am the CEO of an investment firm, both characters make spelling and grammatical errors and are not very bright. This, for me, is to give the lad more of a feeling of dominance over a poor, dumb victim who is falling for them. And it works very well. Also, I like to think if it didn't give this effect, it may encourage the lads poor grammar if they somehow tried to use my characters language as a model of how we in the US/UK/wherever speak. So I could only hope that it continues their dumbing down to be spotted by a real victim.

But as for the second part of my question: are we evolving with them?

It seems that we're clinging on to email still. I know IM is generally shyed away from, I have a handful of you on my characters Facebook profile (which i'm actively baiting on[1].), I haven't seen too many craigslist baits, etc.

Shouldn't we be migrating to where they're going? Or is that still a few months/years away?


[1] I find that baiting facebook is pretty easy. They feel more connected to you because they "know" you're a real person. They see you interacting with your friends and you're more believable. When you end a bait you have two options.
-Block them, and they'll never see anything you post again, and can't contact you.
-Report them for 419 and their profile will be deleted, with providing proof. Sadly, facebook is flawed. The scammer can easily recover their account with just proving they're the real account holder. I've reported this one 3 times. Only deleted once. Facebook lets lads scam on their own facebook, but not on a hacked facebook if the real owner reports it. And these ARE their real accounts, they post blackberry PIN #'s all the time, and upload pics from their phones, as well as post on their friends and families profiles.
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Olly3008
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:57 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I completely agree that Lads are slightly evolving.
Take a look at all the old baits, brilliant, the lads are all completely dumb.
I remember lots of news reports on scammers, now not so little.
And as for the lads, maybe baiting has made them evolve, or advance in technology.

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Raga Man
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:03 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Playing ignorant and foolish is a tried and true baiting modality that, I'm sure, will always have some success as these characteristics are probably common among real victims. I would consider ministers and investment company CEOs to be professional people although there is no reason why one of these types can't also be a bit dim. What we are talking about here is two entirely different, yet effective, baiting modalities.

The point I was trying to make is that a baiter may find considerably less success if he names his baiting character something like "U.P. Yurass" (as opposed to something like "George Smith") or he calls his baiting church "Temple of the Horny Teenager" (as opposed to something more prosaic like "Crossroads Baptist Church"). The former examples are much more likely to be spotted as a joke than the latter.

Which is not to say you can't have some fun with word play at the lad's expense. It's just the more subtle and nuanced the word play, the more successful the baiter is likely to be. Ham-handed jokes and insults are, I believe, much more likely to lead to the premature death of a bait.

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ateabanah
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:10 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Ahh. I see.

I guess we will know when the evolution is complete, when the forums here are split up, and craigslist and facebook baits fall under their own sections, as opposed to just the Miscellaneous section. And those sections gained more activity over traditional email scams. If that ever were to happen.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^
With them being on the increase, i think thats Inevitable.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I do enjoy these discussions! I haven't baited in quite a while, and I've been actively sitekilling for a little over a year, so I don't have any real sense of evolution. BUT I do sometimes see a certain amount of sophistication with some site lads, for example hosting their fake bank on one domain, the login page on a second domain with a different hoster, and their email facility on a third with yet another hoster. That way they can get back up and running pretty quickly if they lose one piece and the other hosters remain oblivious to what happened. I don't think they do that because of sitekillers sniffing around, more likely it's because there *are* hosters/registrars who police their networks -- at least on occasion. Razz

I do have a question about Facebook lads. When I became more active on Eater I took down my RL facebook page under the theory that my friends and family should know how to contact me and I don't need daily updates. Laughing Anyway, are Facebook lads generally from any certain region? I know generalizations are difficult to make, but I ask because I often see certain 'themes', templates and/or approaches used by site lads from different parts of the world.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:51 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Certain types of scam are definately evolving, but from what ive personally seen lads are still more or less lads.

I reckon if you pulled a bait from the deep archives perhaps 2005/6 and ran it without changes the chances are you would simply repeat that bait lol.

Online fraud such as phishing is getting to epidemic proportions, and from various reports etc, it would appear more professionals are employed by the criminals now than ever before, its costing legitimate companies a fortune, for example the new ssl certs that turn the browser green (firefox) are 400 quid a year, an IDS / Honeypot which needs total change every 90 days costs thousands for some businesses.

I dont actually know if lads progress to phishing etc, but the ones we have hammered over the many years must sure wish there was something else they were doing now.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:28 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I figure: Of course it's evolving, but so are we. It's like radar detectors. Cops have radar to catch you speeding, and we have radar detectors to warn us. So the cops get newer radar to thwart that, and someone makes a radar detector to thwart that. And so it goes. Not quite the proper analogy, but you get the idea from a tech-point of view.

I think it's constantly evolving, as has been evidenced in these forums.

I think we are keeping up quite nicely.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:49 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Since I am Mr Repetitive, I'd have to say that I think the tools are just changing, as technology and society changes.

I'm not keen to use the word 'evolve' as such, as the scams still rely on the same principles as always, as they have since forever, it's not as though they are now jacking directly in to your brain, they are still pretending to be x under the guise of y and offering you z when z actually equals b.

The guy selling fake gold is the same as the guy in the truck selling you those special import speakers. The guy pretending to be an orphan is the same as the guy at the fuel station pretending to be stuck and if you give him some money he'll pay you right back. That miracle diet you can buy off your TV is the same as those magic penis pills you can buy from your email.

If you're more directly asking whether scammers are becoming more aware of "jokers" and "time wasters", sure they are, as any con man worth his salt is more aware of under cover LE, it's more of them making the way in to 'journeyman' rather than 'evolving'.

That's my 10 c .

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:06 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ Yes, very much agree.

The basic scams are just the same, but the technology evolves...

Letter...
Fax...
Email...
Text message...

Here's a particularly clever russian scam that I almost fell for recently - XP Internet Security 2012. Basically a spy-ware virus that finds its way into your computer then scares the hell out of you by saying you have several virus infestations on your machine! Luckily Windows recommends to you some "software" to purchase that will remove all the infestations!

This software is the scam. It does nothing. It just restores your machine to exactly how it was before. (although almost certainly keeps some malware lurking). A 21st century protection racket?

See here:

http://www.best-anti-spyware.com/anti-malware/xp-internet-security-2012-%E2%80%93-oops-another-money-scam-detected/

Chance

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:23 am Reply with quoteBack to top

ateabanah wrote:
I know back in 2002-2007 the media claims "thousands" of people are scammed every year. But somehow, I feel that this isn't accurate nowadays, at least by traditional email.


If only that was the case.
Judging by the work going on over at our sister site - Scamwarners - just as many people are falling to email scams now as back then.

There's one very important factor that contributes to that - more people are online than there were 5-10 years ago. That equals more potential victims for the lads and more chance of a success rate for them.

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ateabanah
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
I do have a question about Facebook lads (~snip~)
are Facebook lads generally from any certain region? I know generalizations are difficult to make, but I ask because I often see certain 'themes', templates and/or approaches used by site lads from different parts of the world.


I think that depends on who you add on facebook. I added a real lad, then added all his friends too. And this is his real facebook, and real friends and family. Not made up characters. So they are from the same general region I believe.
I highly recommend this btw ^


Quote:
Letter...
Fax...
Email...
Text message...


This is why i've changed my stance to "are we migrating as the lads are?" to the different mediums. It honestly seems as though we're clinging to email alone, primarily.

Quote:
just as many people are falling to email scams now as back then.


So it's like inflation? There are still many people falling for them, but comparing the ratio of users and people who're scammed now to the ratio of 6 years ago, it's still fallen?

I can see people falling for phishing, or craigslist, malware, or something they're unfamiliar with. But I would think the lad's email gig is spent.

Quote:
And so it goes.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:56 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
But I would think the lad's email gig is spent

Scamming is a business - in a rather perverted sense of the word - but a business nonetheless. Like any other business, if it doesn't make money, the business goes belly up and fades away. So, if your statement were true, how is it that I get 20 -30 scam emails every day in my catcher account? I can only interpret this fact in one way... somebody is making money on email scams. Will email scamming fade away as other forms become more popular? Perhaps, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:46 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

In Lagos kids earn $1 a day picking out copper wire from land fill... So as long as there is money to be made, scammers will keep sending emails...

Chance

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:01 am Reply with quoteBack to top

ateabanah wrote:


So it's like inflation? There are still many people falling for them, but comparing the ratio of users and people who're scammed now to the ratio of 6 years ago, it's still fallen?


No way of telling for sure but if I had to gamble on an answer, I'd say that things are pretty much the same as they've ever been. One thing is for certain though - the vast majority of lad scamming is still undertaken by email. It's simple, inexpensive and it has a proven track record. Why change a winning formula?
Obviously, those who have experienced dodgy emails in the past are now (mainly) switched on. But you've also had the proliferation of dating sites over the past few years and this has opened up a new market for the lads. Add to that selling sites and other new avenues that they've taken advantage of and even those who've been online for some time, may be taken - simply because they've never used those services prior and are unaware of the pitfalls.
Working at SW, I see just as many vics from the West as I did 5 or 6 years ago. Also, if anything, the cash amount they're individually losing seems to be actually growing bigger rather than receding. And even though it may seem unbelievable, the old Money Transfer and Trunk Box scams are still as popular as ever and still claiming a fair number of victims. To some degree, I think that because, after spending time here, we see those scams as very, very basic we can't believe that anyone would still fall for them and therefore naturally assume that the lads aren't having success with them. They still do in alarming numbers though.
Other factors could be in play - for example, the worldwide recession may have made people more suseptible to a lad's advances. "Things are financially shit now, there's a chink of light there and I'm gonna go for it". Whereas in more normal times, people would be more restrained. The old adage "Desperate times call for desperate measures" may be in play there.

Disturbingly, and due to that influx of new users, we're also seeing more people from the less developed nations getting hit - au pair scams are an example.
There's also the possibility that internet access has become easier for the lads and there are now more of them plugging out there. Again, you could compare this to inflation and rationalise it but if there are more lads and more vics, it balances out the historical ratio.

I'd take a qualified guess and say that things are no different now than they were a few years ago. If anything, the picture may be even bleaker due to easier access to technology and lad adaptability. I see this as a blip though - unless anything totally radical and unforeseen is added to their armoury, the education of their vics through various mediums will slowly overtake them.
They'll be made redundant eventually and the largest part of their business will be put out of action (specifically 419 by email) simply because there must be a time when people will wake up to them - those that would be vics will be scammed and those that can be educated will be switched on: like a market saturation. But it's a war that's probably going to take decades to win. Likely there will always be victims, but hopefully, the numbers that we're seeing now will dwindle.

thefae wrote:
Anyway, are Facebook lads generally from any certain region? I know generalizations are difficult to make, but I ask because I often see certain 'themes', templates and/or approaches used by site lads from different parts of the world.


They're only limited by access to the net. You'll therefore find more Facebook lads in Southern Nigeria than you would in the North for example. It's simply a matter of being able to use it. Another factor is simply demography.
The whole point of their using FB is so that they can network through it. They're no different to the average user in that respect. It means that you can have a lad sitting in Enugu corresponding with a lad in Canada and opening up new avenues (for example check scamming). Obviously, if a lad is part of a gang and they're physically based in Lagos, most of his contacts are going to be based in Lagos, but they're always open to new opportunites of gathering new contacts so that they can steal more money.
Each individual lad may have the majority of his contacts matched to his tribal, religious or locational affiliations. A Muslim Hausa living in Jos is naturally going to have contacts who are closer to his profile just as any regular user has friends who match his/her own personal profile. But overall, FB lads come in all flavours.

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Raga Man
Cousin Euphemism


Joined: 04 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:21 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
Other factors could be in play - for example, the worldwide recession may have made people more suseptible to a lad's advances.

That's a good point, SOOI. Not only are more people susceptible to scams because they get desperate but the lads play into that financial desperation by going where the demand is - jobs and loans. I suspect job and loan scam offerings have increased over the past few years.

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Slightlyoutofit
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Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 14310
Location: Foraging for Nuts.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:37 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^ It's no different from the US Marine in Iraq or the Earthquake in Haiti scams.
They adapt as they find a market or a weakness in thier targets.

Take the latter for example - no earthquake, obviously no scam vics as there has to be a physical/real world basis for that type of scam. Maybe some of those vics might have fallen to another type of scam eventually, but you can be pretty sure that some (if not the majority) would have kept their money safe.

The fact that it was a relatively recent occurence which the lads adapted to and the fact that people fell to them, merely shows that 419 email scamming is as strong as ever.
Like I said: email scamming is far from dead. It's thriving. There are always new avenues opening up for the lads to exploit. And as long as those avenues are there, they'll keep plugging away at them.

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wowwow
Elite Baiter


Joined: 14 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:58 am Reply with quoteBack to top

No .. Smile

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Last edited by wowwow on Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:48 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Ghost
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Joined: 26 Jun 2004
Posts: 5692
Location: In the cellar rattling chains


PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:47 am Reply with quoteBack to top

wowwow wrote:
For the last few years I've been running a scammer genus post


It's been going on for 15 months, one week and two days (Posted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:10 am). That is closer to a little more than one year than a few years. I know a "few" years sounds much cooler but the truth is the truth.

wowwow wrote:
And from all the data I've collected by analyzing scam emails I would consider myself an expert in determining the mindset of the scammer


So how many times were you voir dired in court before you became an expert? What information have you passed on that lead to arrests and the recovery of stolen property or money? How many thousands of times where you able to figure out the scammer mind set and bait him accordingly?

wowwow wrote:
anyways .. i'm rambling ..


Far be it from me to argue with an expert Laughing

I don't think scammers are evolving. I think they just adapt to or a better word would be they exploit whatever services are available while the Internet evolves.

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Last edited by Ghost on Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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sagat
Master Baiter


Joined: 18 Dec 2004
Posts: 106


PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:30 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

One thing that hasn't changed over the years is greed. If the people who receive these emails just delete them or report them, we will see a rapid decline in these scams. I know some people are not aware of these kind of scams which is why they need to be educated about it
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