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 Why not examine some of the reasons behind the growth in 419

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dangermouse
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 5:11 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
Sounds like Shell is a convenient scapegoat. If Nigeria wants to get rid of Shell they can. The real problem for Nigeria is that they have crap governments and after 40 years they seem to be running out of people to blame for that.

I guess now this is drifting off topic a bit, but I would urge you to seperate "Nigeria" in terms of a dictatorial government and a mass population. Just because the government does something it doesn't mean all, or even more of Nigeria want that. I am uncomfortable with gross "they" type generalisations.

But back to the point, Shell are not to blame for 419 scams, but discussing their role in Nigeria and the resentment that they have created is relevant (without ever justifying that resentment mutating into fraud). Again, I repeat, it doesn't matter even if you think Shell are the most wonderful company on Earth - my point is in relation to the resentment that has been generated, most notably by Shell, but as others have pointed out in many other ways too. And whether this has a correlation to the popularity of 419 in Nigeria.
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dangermouse
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 5:16 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Old Coaster, cheers for the response. One thing you noted:
Quote:
Oil is to be found in other Countries in Africa and there is little internet scamming from these places.

Nigeria does, though, I think, have by far the largest oil reserves in Africa and one of the largest in the World, with by far the most advanced drilling operations, right?
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speedyjay
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 5:17 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Just wanted to add my bit too as to why I think Nigera is a major focus of 419..... (kinda like school again... )

I agree that 419 is not an exclusive "Nigerian thing" and the excuse of "we only scam westerners or Americans" is bunk. All they care about is that you have money to blow and a way to get to a Western Union office. They wouldnt care if your skin was green an glowed in the dark so long as you were passing over info.

However the majority of 419 does seem to resolve back to Nigera. So why Nigera you ask? Several reasons.

First off, Nigera has been historically poor by western standards, but by Africa standards isnt really all that bad. This means that within Nigeria you have a bunch of moderatly educated people (can read and write) whom have a grasp of what is going on outside the world (ie reading newspapers/access to radio/TV broadcasts). Within their world they really aint doing too bad. However oil brings western investment into Nigeria....and it brings high value western currency. Dumping the Nigerian "funny money" value into the toilet.

That in itself is a devistating act, but now factor in a government and social structure that bribes and corruption are readily acceptable and even encouraged, with devalued currency, and a large population that can read and write, add that all together, and you get a lot of people angry at their situation. Their solution, insead of trying to invest in an impossible system of bribery and corruption, is to simply join it and help the masses bring in more western currency.

Which of course adds to the cycle, further throwing the soft Nigeran currency into the toilet, making it impossible for the avarage hard working Nigerian to make a living. They may see an aquatence making a few thousand US dollars (more then maybe 10 years of wages) doing nothing but typing a few hours a day, and decide to join the fun, villifying the west to help justify imoral activities. When in fact it is rationalization of greed at the expense of your fellow man.

All right....so how was that answer ? do I get a good grade?
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Old Coaster
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 5:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

handshakedrugs wrote:
Nigeria does, though, I think, have by far the largest oil reserves in Africa and one of the largest in the World, with by far the most advanced drilling operations, right?

I think you are right, but ask Mark Thatcher about Guinea Biseau

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dangermouse
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 5:29 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Old Coaster wrote:
handshakedrugs wrote:
Nigeria does, though, I think, have by far the largest oil reserves in Africa and one of the largest in the World, with by far the most advanced drilling operations, right?

I think you are right, but ask Mark Thatcher about Guinea Biseau

LOL Laughing
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Wardy
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 5:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I spoke to my bank manager about these scams and he was very clued up on the whole concept. He had been to confrences etc on the subject and was told why it always seemed to be Nigerians.

The answer was that in Nigerian culture they do not see ripping off banks as being a crime. There view is that banks make millions of pounds and if their procedures are lapse enough to be exploited than they are fair game.

What they forget is the banks dont lose a penny, it is inocent people who do.
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llamedos
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 6:07 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Just to add my 4p's worth

We have lots of information from our lovely Maryam about the devious activities of Sanni (an estimated $3 billion according to some reports)

What kind of an example is that to set to the masses?

Yes, ok, maybe Shell is 'vulnerable' for finger pointing, but I think the basic fault lies solely with the Nigerian extortioners
They can get away with it, so they do it
period

And, I fear that with the spreading of the internet within the West African region, more and more scammers will emerge

Whilst most scammers from Togo, Benin, Ghana etc can be traced back to Nigeria, I don't believe that all of them are Nigerian...

Scamming is a way of life in West Africa - I experienced it when I visited Togo earlier this year.. police taking bribes from taxi drivers, soldiers taking money from citizens (including me - twice! - they were drunk and waving around an AK47, so I didn't feel much like arguing Shocked )
Even the town Mayor was in on the act taking CFA2500 for a permit that cost CFA2000 - ok, so it's pennies, but CFA500 goes a long way out there

The concept of scamming is ingrained into their society and once the internet starts to spread, this will give rise to more scammers chancing their arm with 419

And when it reaches Mali, Chad, Niger, Liberia... Rolling Eyes

We could well be here for a while...

(feel free to pick holes in my contribution - it's been a long day!)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 7:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Y'know, the more I read these boards, the more I find out.

There was also a fair bit of discussion about this topic (or similar) in this thread.

Back to the standard modalities...

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Lew_Skannen
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 8:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I still do not see how The West or Shell is even relevant to this discussion.
If you wonder why Nigeria is into 419 then all I can suggest is that they do it because they know how to do it and they think it pays.
Why do North Koreans run pachinko in Japan? Albanians run prostitution in western europe?Italians run mafia in US etc? Because it is something they have become acquainted with, understand and make a business out of.
Where does 'hatred of the west' fit in???
Are you saying that these people drag themselves to the cafe to try and right past wrongs??
If Shell is the problem then tell me this - what effect does Shell have on some guy sitting in a cafe in Enugu?
NONE.
The people who are suffering from oil drilling are NOT the people sitting in internet cafes.
AND
The only complaint I have heard about oil drilling is that the money taken from oil has not been returned to the area from which the oil drilling has taken its toll. Ogoniland or somethng. That is one you and discuss with the Nigerian government.

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Klassenfeind
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 8:35 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Nigeria has the largest population of any African country, 137 million according to the CIA World Factbook.

If Nigeria has the same percentage of criminals as other countries, the number of criminals will be higher due to a higher population.

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The [email protected] Knight
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 8:40 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

So now we have to start studying the percentage of scammers per capita..
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Klassenfeind
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 8:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Yes, if the percentage of scammers are the same in Togo and Nigeria there should be about 20 times more scammers in Nigeria.

There may be other differences as discussed before, but the fact that there are more people in Nigeria will result in more criminals (in sheer numbers). And of course more honest people (number-wise).

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DSOK
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:07 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

llamedos wrote:
Yes, ok, maybe Shell is 'vulnerable' for finger pointing, but I think the basic fault lies solely with the Nigerian extortioners
They can get away with it, so they do it

period


Yes, it's very easy to blame big western companies for problems in the third world, but there's always more to it than just corporate greed. The vagarities of local politics invariably play a role when things go wrong.

What's the most famous example of the actions of a western company leading to a disaster in the developing world? The chemical leak at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India in 1984. Union Carbide was raked over the coals by the western media and the company's name was irreparably damaged. Executives were tried in absentia in Indian courts. There was an amazing international outcry against the firm.

Yet, while Union Carbide was certainly partially responsible for what happened, they were by no means solely at fault. The Indian government had forced Union Carbide to create a publicly traded subsidiary, Union Carbide India, with local executives and board members, to run the Bhopal plant. There were essentially no Americans working in Bhopal, and the responsibilities of Union Carbide International were purely supervisory, because that's what the Indian government demanded. Meanwhile, the management team in India was dominated by the cronies of local government officials.

Of course, Union Carbide still failed to adequately oversee what happened at its Indian subsidiary, but it was local incompetence that was the direct cause of the disaster. (Actually, Union Carbide to this day claims that the leak was the result of sabotage, and they might even be right.) Had the company been allowed to run its plant the way it really wanted to, there would probably have been no leak at all!

I was very surprised when I learned the details of what actually happened leading up to the Bhopal catastrophe. Ultimately, what was required was a western company that was willing to accept suboptimal safety conditions (In the U. S., Union Carbide had a relatively poor safety record, but hardly a terrible one.) and a local government and business community that was far, far more willing in this regard. Ultimately, the greed of the powerful Indians was probably more dangerous than the greed of the westerners.

I tell this story because the events are so famous, but these same principles obtain with Shell in Nigeria and most other western businesses doing business in the developing world.

llamedos wrote:
Scamming is a way of life in West Africa - I experienced it when I visited Togo earlier this year.. police taking bribes from taxi drivers, soldiers taking money from citizens (including me - twice! - they were drunk and waving around an AK47, so I didn't feel much like arguing Shocked )
Even the town Mayor was in on the act taking CFA2500 for a permit that cost CFA2000 - ok, so it's pennies, but CFA500 goes a long way out there

The concept of scamming is ingrained into their society and once the internet starts to spread, this will give rise to more scammers chancing their arm with 419


Bribery and corruption were the norm in the West for thousands of years. Many ancient Roman officials were expected to finance games and festivals "out of their own pockets," but they were simultaneously expected to embezzle the necessary funds. In medieval Italy, the abbots of rich monestaries reaped huge profits from these properties, which went into the abbots' personal coffers.

The examples go on, up until the Age of Reason. Before the Enlightenment, the idea that misappropriation of funds was wrong was only a vague current of thought, which had little place in the public consciousness. In many parts of the third world, this same situation still obtains.
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superbad
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:30 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The reason 419 fraud originates primarily from Lagos is this: 419 fraud orignates primarily from Lagos. I don't mean to be tautological, but it's the same reason that most American mafia activity originates in New Jersey, or why most computing companies are based around Silicon Valley, or why so many Irish immigrants went to Boston originally.

Nigeria has a well established fraud infrastructure, and a government with no interest in breaking it up. Once you have that many bosses and successful scammers in one area, the whole thing feeds itself. Recruiting new lower level scammers becomes easy when they see their peers successfully doing the same thing. Lagos is something of a "center of 419 excellence" if you will. It's not cultural or reactionary at all.

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Lord Vader
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 10:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
Yet, while Union Carbide was certainly partially responsible for what happened, they were by no means solely at fault.

Excuse me to hijack this thread but I call entirely modern day imperialism bullshit on this one!

If a global player chooses to set up a production plant in a 3rd world country, it is done because it reduces operational costs, such as having to apply rigid security measures for their employees like they would have to do in their own country. Need filters for the hazardous fumes at home? No worries, in India they are happy to have us WITHOUT the filters.

Plus we pay people a nickle for every dollar we have to pay our workers in America, Germany, Great Britain or wherever. And you donīt think they are fully aware of that? Geez, they must be mighty naive for multi-billion dollar corporations!

This is not the "Global Market", it is fucking imperialism in full effect. Only do we not see hostile armies just invading and subdueing their enemy with military force (except for some recent examples of imperialism gone back to the grunting noise imperialism of the old days) and taking whatever they want, no. We select puppets from their own folks to do the dirty work for us. We come to "liberate".

Of course they must be thankful. And then come people like Sanni Abacha, Augusto Pinochet, Noriega and all the other clowns that run the countries to our liking. Well, at the end of the day, theyīll have a few billion quid in their swiss accounts as well, so itīs a win-win situation, no? The global players just tax deduct that money, believe me. And we donīt get our hands dirty anymore, right? Nice one.

BTW, did you know that the big time winners from the Bhopal incident were US lawyers, that sued the company and while they were raking in millions, the affected Indian families got a tiny fraction of the reparation payments?

Because the lawyers fucked them over in exactly the same manner that they had been fucked over before. Again and again and again. Now donīt go telling me that all the riches are there for the people, they just have to take it. Not as long as we (the "1st world") arenīt willing to say good-bye to our prodigal lifestyle and learn to share a bit instead of raping the globe for its ressources.

Iīd certainly hate to live like a monk, but it would be better anyday than to each day read about thousands of starving children and people killing each other just so some retards can drive cars that guzzle 15 gallons of fuel per 100 miles while saying "fuck if I care if those bimbos smash each otherīs heads in!". Thatīs just making it too easy for oneself. If you wanna benefit from international trade and a global economy then you damn well have to make sure that everyone involved benefits at least to a satisfying degree.

Everything else spells fucking trouble.
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Nelsonsbattle
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 10:31 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I think that the whole 419 problem goes back to the underlying acceptance of corruption In Nigeria. In all the surveys of corruption I have seen, Nigeria seems to be vying with bangladesh as the most corrupt nation.

This basic corruption which permeates Nigerian society allows the Government officials and bureaucrats to take money from Shell in return for oil rights, for the courts to toss out cases against Shell for environmental damage, and for the courts to allow 419 scammers to go free.

I've been participating in a Nigerian forum, and I am impressed that there are a lot of people there who love their country, recognise the problems, and would love to do something about them. But it's hard for the average person in the streets to say "Enough" when the leaders of the Government are taking hundreds of millions of dallars in bribes. The "golden rule" probably has a different meaning in Nigeria, he who has the gold, rules!

So there is the fertile ground of corruption in Nigeria which allows 419 to grow. There is a well educated populace and access to a stable electronic communications service. And probably a level of resentment against the west because of Shell's activities which is easily transferred to all non-Nigerians by the scammers.

I think there is an extremely complex causal relationship between so many factors there in Nigeria as to why 419 fraud is so identified as being Nigerian.

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DSOK
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 11:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Lord Vader wrote:
Excuse me to hijack this thread but I call entirely modern day imperialism bullshit on this one!

If a global player chooses to set up a production plant in a 3rd world country, it is done because it reduces operational costs, such as having to apply rigid security measures for their employees like they would have to do in their own country. Need filters for the hazardous fumes at home? No worries, in India they are happy to have us WITHOUT the filters.

Union Carbide was trying to save money by operating in India. Nobody disputes that, not even Union Carbide. However, the Indian government was apparently much more eager to see corners cut than the company itself!


Lord Vader wrote:
BTW, did you know that the big time winners from the Bhopal incident were US lawyers, that sued the company and while they were raking in millions, the affected Indian families got a tiny fraction of the reparation payments?

Yes, I did. I actually learned much of this from one of those lawyers, who, in his advancing age, had discovered some remorse over how the legal community had handled things.

Lord Vader wrote:
Because the lawyers fucked them over in exactly the same manner that they had been fucked over before. Again and again and again. Now donīt go telling me that all the riches are there for the people, they just have to take it. Not as long as we (the "1st world") arenīt willing to say good-bye to our prodigal lifestyle and learn to share a bit instead of raping the globe for its ressources.

My point was that while western companies do locate in the developing world in order to save money and often cut corners, when there are serious problems, the local leaders are often equally responsible. In the Bhopal case, the plant would have been better run had Union Carbide been allowed to operate it in the way they originally wanted. Would it have been run in a completely acceptable fashion? No, because Union Carbide International was run by crooks. Unfortunately, so was the state of Madhya Pradesh.

Oh, and I have no intention of giving up my Thanksgiving buffalo bratwurst.
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Seymour Butts
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 12:10 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I have noticed that certain scams are popular in certain areas: over here there's a famous ATM-related scam known as "le collet marseillais": it's basically tampering with an ATM using a tiny looped wire so that the card remains blocked in the slot and then getting a "helpful" stranger to give the victim a hand in explaining the possible causes of the blockage, while all the time looking over the person's shoulder as they frantically type their PIN in several times. When the person is gone they pull out the wire - and the card - and withdraw all the money. Here in Marseille every single ATM card slot shows signs of being scraped where the looped wire has been pulled in and out by scammers.

Just to say that for reasons unknown certain scams seem popular in certain geographic zones. 419 is prevalent in West Africa, "collet marseillais" at one time was prevalent in Marseille (died down a little now), I'm sure there's other cons popular elsewhere.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 12:14 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Whatever works where you are, I guess.

God only knows how often the Sydney Harbour Bridge has been sold off...

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Master Shake
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 4:44 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Old Coaster wrote:
The culture of Southern Nigeria has always admired those who can make money without working and I have scam letters going back to the 1950's.


!!!

Any way you could scan one or two and post it (for historical purposes, with a large "SCAM" imprinted on it) for those of us who are curious?
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 5:50 am Reply with quoteBack to top

419 scams predate the internet. The internet has made it a lot easier and cheaper to impement the scam.

The 419 scam has got nothing to do with Shell Oil or even Christian missionaries as one poster claims.

Too many Nigerians are simply corrupt and are thieves and liars. They speak a European language (English) which facilitates their scamming and the 419 scam has multiplied since the arrival of the interent, partly because the principal language of the internet is English.

It has grown rapidly in Nigeria because they obviously all talk to each other and swap ideas and methods.

The Nigerian government is corrupt, officials even at high levels are often corrupt. The police can be bought. Judges can be bought. So criminal activity can be got away with easier than in the UK for example.

The Nigerians need an easily reached set of people who are naive and will believe their silly lies.

So the whole scene is set for the scam to develop to higher volumes in Nigeria than anywhere else.

I believe the US government is pressuring Nigeria to smarten up it's detection and conviction of scammers.

I suppose all we can do is identify the lads and pass the info to police while we have a bit of fun.

BTW, I always resolve the IP address of all the emails I recieve from the lads. 95% show a Nigerian address.
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Wright B Hindyou
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 6:10 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Most areas of this have been covered.

One more perhaps, is what the country of 'Nigeria' is supposed to represent -- most Nigerians hardly seem to know themselves as they often refer primarily to themselves as Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani -- ie thinking tribally not nationally.

It appears that the vast majority of scammers are Ibo, perhaps because they were dominant during the colonial period when education was being handed out. The Muslim Hausa/Fulani from the north are not involved in scamming in any way.

What's the relation of this ethnic diversity to scamming? I'm not sure, but at a guess I would say a diminished view of nationhood and national pride, coupled with the inherent unrest which goes with tribal/religious divide, plays its part in the 'grab the money and run' mentality.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 6:27 am Reply with quoteBack to top

lightwave wrote:
419 scams predate the internet. The internet has made it a lot easier and cheaper to impement the scam.


Scam letters even predate WW2

Take a look at: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/scams/nigeria.asp

Quote:
The Nigerian Scam has been emptying the pockets of victims for decades — first through letters, then with faxes, and now via e-mail. In its earliest incarnation — which dates to the 1920s — it was known as "The Spanish Prisoner" con. In that long-ago version, businessmen were contacted by someone trying to smuggle the scion of a wealthy family out of a prison in Spain. But of course the wealthy family would shower with riches those who helped secure the release of the boy. Those who were suckered into this paid for one failed rescue attempt after another, with the fictitious prisoner continuing to languish in his non-existent dungeon, always just one more bribe, one more scheme, one more try, away from being released.
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Homesmythe
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 9:50 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Listen to the Chuckwa Interview. His excuse was basically No Jobs+Poverty+Excess of Free Time+Ease of Scamming. He also said a lot of scammers are in jail, which I kind of doubt. Especially if you consider the "statistics" that scamming "imports" more money from Western countries than the legitimate exports of Nigeria.
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breaker419
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 3:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I don't know much about the history of Nigeria or the Shell Corporation, or indeed of 419 scams.

It seems to me, though, that the prevalence of 419 scammers in Nigeria might have something to do with the facilities for working the scams being in place there.

Every scammer I've baited seems to be mailing from an internet cafe of some description, where a well-prepared scammer could conceivably fire off hundreds of emails in a short time (preferable to the fax machine of course because of the lower cost involved). I get the impression that scripts for 419 scams can be purchased by individuals who want to give it a go.

Right away there you've got customers (Nigerians wanting to try a scam or two) and suppliers (internet cafes and script providers) in much the same way as any other market would operate. If lots of people come along to the suppliers, more suppliers will go into business. After all, why do the donkey work of scamming when you can become the internet cafe owner, and get a bit of everyone else's cash instead?

And of course if there are more people pushing scripts, and more internet cafes full of people running 419 scams (imagine the queues!), then it becomes attractive by human nature to want "in", especially when a friend of a friend knows someone who just picked up $8000 from the Western Union just for sending a few emails.

It sounds to me like there's an industry in Nigeria, and where other countries might see this and clamp down on it for fear of tarnishing their international reputation, Nigeria probably knows that it has a bad reputation anyway, so why bother stopping money from coming into the country, whatever the source?

Just my observations, but I can see how people might get involved. It doesn't mean it's right of course, and the sooner 419 scams are eradicated forever by raising public awareness of the phenomenon (and of course throwing spanners in the works in the form of baits), the sooner this nefarious avenue of opportunity will close.

Of course, something will have to change in the fabric of Nigeria's social culture, or the closing of one avenue may just lead to the opening of a new kind of scam.

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