Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Security Spam

Interview With a Convicted 419 Scammer 184

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-am-the-prince-of-your-heart dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Scam awareness website www.scam-detectives.co.uk has published a two part interview with convicted Nigerian 419 scammer, 'John.' 'John' talks about his experiences of scam victims, how he gains their trust and convinces them to part with their money, and how he would go back for another 'bite' after the original scam, posing as a law enforcement official who has apprehended the scammer and recovered the funds ... for a fee, of course."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Interview With a Convicted 419 Scammer

Comments Filter:
  • Haha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:28PM (#30936240) Journal

    When was the last time you had to pay the cops for a stolen wallet or purse that belonged to you?

    Very clever. I mean only those foolish enough to fall for the first scam could possibly be foolish enough to fall for that line. "John" clearly knows his target audience.

    • Re:Haha! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mbone (558574) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:43PM (#30936526)

      Once people like this find a mark, they will always keep coming back.

    • When was the last time you had to pay the cops for a stolen wallet or purse that belonged to you?

      Very clever. I mean only those foolish enough to fall for the first scam could possibly be foolish enough to fall for that line. "John" clearly knows his target audience.

      There is nothing clever about it. How can you be surprised that they keep coming back for more?

    • Re:Haha! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:50PM (#30936676) Homepage

      Throwing good money after bad is hardly limited to 419 victims. It's like an IT project that you've invested a ton of money in and isn't performing and you've thrown out your Indian outsourcing team but this new team claims they can salvage most of it for a little more money. And they end up paying and ultimately still scrapping the whole system because it's hopeless but nobody wanted to admit the money is really gone. That part is really just human.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When was the last time you had to pay the cops for a stolen wallet or purse that belonged to you?

      Yeah, that part made me laugh. I've never heard of the cops returning anyone's stolen property. Including the one case I know of where they caught the crooks with the property. The cops wanted my uncle to ID his property to help convict them. They never returned it to him.

      • Happened to me (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mister_playboy (1474163) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:13PM (#30937182)

        I had the same thing happen with my car stereo. I ID'd the stuff at the station (it was recovered a week after it was stolen) and never heard from the police again. Trying to get in touch with anyone who could deal with the problem at the PD was a pain (they insisted evidence was *never* held for more than 30 days and treated me like I was crazy), and when I finally got a hold of the evidence room officer, she couldn't give me a straight reason as to why they were still holding on to it.

        Years have passed and I now live in a different city, and sometimes I wonder if my $2000 of stereo equipment still continues to sit in that evidence room. Bullshit.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I'm sure the evidence room officer has found a better stereo for his house by now. Your stereo equipment is in the dumpster.
        • Re:Happened to me (Score:5, Interesting)

          by dubbreak (623656) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:40PM (#30939368)
          I worked for a retail store and we got a call from head office that the police were releasing some evidence from a previous theft and we should go pick it up. Apparently someone stole a few shipping boxes off the delivery truck.

          I was nominated to go since I had a truck. I get down there and pick up two huge boxes, get back tot he store and open them up to find boxes of shoes from at least a decade prior. They had held the evidence for at least 10 years!

          While in the evidence lockup there 3ft tall pile of marijuana on a pallet and a similar pallet of "shrooms". I bet those got processed a lot quicker.
        • My father had an employee steal a large amount of plumbing, heating and various hardware items. The guy's roomate turned him in. Police collected everything, father pressed charges. Police told my father they had to keep things in evidence until after charges were finalized and that they'd then call him to get the items.

          A few months of not hearing anything he called the cops. It seems the guy plea bargained out and the police never got around to calling my father. Everything was sold at a police auction.

        • Did complain to your elected officials? Talk to a lawyer?

      • by Potor (658520)

        I have some experience with stolen bikes in Belgium. If the cops find it, they will give it back. They invite you to their warehouse of found bikes, and give you all the time in the world to look for it. And people who report stolen bikes are invited to special auctions to buy bikes that have not been claimed after some time.

        • > I have some experience with stolen bikes in Belgium. If the cops find it,
          > they will give it back.

          I expect that's true most places. The cops have all the bikes they could possibly want.

    • Re:Haha! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@@@gmail...com> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:55PM (#30936784) Homepage
      When was the last time you had to pay the cops for a stolen wallet or purse that belonged to you?

      It's possible asking that question in Nigeria would get you a different answer than asking it in the US.
    • Re:Haha! (Score:4, Funny)

      by CuriHP (741480) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:10PM (#30937096)

      It cost me $10 to get a copy of my accident report. A photocopy of one sheet of paper.

    • Re:Haha! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:05PM (#30938534) Homepage

      Well, "fool me twice... you can't get fooled again."

    • Eh, just last week, I lost my wallet? They promised it was in the mail and all they needed was my address and social security and bank details... mail is a bit slow but I am sure I will get my wallet back any day now.

      What?

      Come on, once a sucker, always a sucker.

      • My wallet was stolen on new years and I keep hoping somebody will try to steal my ID or extort me to get it back, but I think the little notebook in it filled with voodoo incantations about omnidirectionally conductive high-adhesion photovoltaic materials and other random ideas I've jotted down convinced them i'm not the best mark.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wurble (1430179)
      Cops charge you big money when you're car is stolen. They put it in an impound lot and you have to pay to get your own car back after someone else stole it.

      People familiar with impound procedure but never had any dealings with theft for fraud before, and are ignorant of the law, may simply think it's similar. The legal system is rife with fees.
    • by mustafap (452510)

      >When was the last time you had to pay the cops for a stolen wallet or purse that belonged to you?

      I'm guessing you've never worked or lived in Nigeria

  • by fantomas (94850) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:38PM (#30936428)

    Shock news. In a country where $100 a month is considered a reasonable salary and there's a lot of wealth inequality and corruption, some folk are tempted into crime when they see their friends earning $4000 a month...

    So what's the solution?

    • by quadelirus (694946) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:43PM (#30936528)
      And yet for every down on his luck guy that turns to crime there is a down on his luck guy that stays honest. Dealing with these people as anything other than criminals basically punishes the person who is honest while rewarding the person who isn't.

      I don't know what the solution is, other than continuing to support anti-corruption movements within countries and provide any support to help governments clean up their acts. When the governments become less corrupt, everybody in the country wins.
      • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:18PM (#30937316)

        But you can't deny that desperation can lead to crime. If the expected payout is $75K a year and I expect to make $2K a year at a legal job, that's $73,000 against the risk of getting caught. That's a choice between living in a shack, eating whatever you can afford that week, or having everything you ever dreamed. If you could find work making $10k a year, the difference then becomes being comfortable enough to raise a family without worying about your children starving or having everything you ever wanted.

        I'm certainly not saying don't punish the criminals. If someone shoplifts bread because their child is starving I can understand that and defend that, these people make the local equivilent of a million dollars and do so year after year; they know what they're doing is wrong and there is no moral recourse for it, they deserve to be punished. But there is a cost (risk) and a benifit to doing crime, upping the risk of getting caught should be only one side of a two edged sword. Giving people legal opportunities to support their family and meet their dreams needs to be the other side of it.

        • I totally agree. I feel that supporting the de-corruption of governments is the best way to give people legal opportunities. A big part of the reason wages are so low is corruption. Case in point: when travelling around Uganda in local taxis the drivers would stop every 15 miles or so at police checkpoints and pay bribes to the police. Those are wages being stolen by corrupt government officials from people who could really use it. And if they didn't have to pay bribes they could charge less and so their fa
      • And yet for every down on his luck guy that turns to crime there is a down on his luck guy that stays honest. Dealing with these people as anything other than criminals basically punishes the person who is honest while rewarding the person who isn't.

        I don't know what the solution is, other than continuing to support anti-corruption movements within countries and provide any support to help governments clean up their acts. When the governments become less corrupt, everybody in the country wins.

        Your middle class American morality is not universal. When you are poor, your definitions of honesty and crime are very different. How is taking a few dollars from someone who is wealthy beyond your dreams (the perception of Americans) who got that way exploiting the rest of the world (cheap labor, resources, bolstering corrupt governments, starting wars) bad? You know those movies where the good guys con or rob other criminals, you root for them. When you see America as no better than any other organized crime group, then you have no problem ripping them off.

        • I may have middle class American morality but I lived in one of the poorest parts of one of the poorest countries in the world--right on the border between Uganda and DRC. Many of my friends there are incredibly heart achingly poor, and yet they remain honest and feel very called to a very similar morality to mine. Your arrogance that your middle class western existence is the only one that can produce good values is the real problem. You sell people short by saying that they are simply a product of their c
        • by u38cg (607297)
          The point of morality is that it is universal, and if you can't justify applying the morals you have to other places and situations, maybe you should take a long hard look at yourself. The reason that you are wrong - dead wrong - is that security of property is the most essential condition for economic growth. No-one works hard and tries to earn money unless they are reasonably certain they will get to keep it and not have it taken away from them by capricious governments, thieves, warlords, or pirates.
      • by u38cg (607297)
        Support and fight for economic growth in places that desperately need it. Fight against bullshit like fairtrade tea and coffee, fight against the agricultural lobby that erects huge walls around the subsidised produce of North America and Europe, and try and help win free trade for Africa. The first thing any educated Nigerian does is start planning to leave the country, for very good reasons. Make it worth staying and eventually you'll see a culture and legal system that prevents this sort of thing.
    • So what's the solution?

      1. Close Western Union offices in Nigeria.
      2. Inform the public about those scams. I think the ISPs and Email service providers should send regular reminders by Email about those scams AND new variants that appear.

      This way, there are fewer possibilities to send money to Nigeria, and we keep users informed about latest tricks.

      And after that, if you get caught, you deserved it.

      • by ajlisows (768780)

        I send money to other countries Western Union quite frequently to purchase certain goods like Medication (Not Narcotics, stuff for my grandparents, stuff that insurance doesn't want to touch like Provigil that is expensive here) and the occasional lot of stuff that I have a market to resell. For the record I've probably done business with 20 different people in other countries and never gotten burned.

        Every single time I send money....even if I've sent it to the same receiver a dozen times....I get asked a

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Skadet (528657)

      some folk are tempted into crime when they see their friends earning $4000 a month...

      The causal relationship you imply here doesn't exist. It isn't inequality that's at fault, its these lads' greed coupled with lack of morals. I'm not tempted into crime where I see a Ferrari on the street -- and I would guess that the same is true for most folks.

      • by sjames (1099) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:03PM (#30936942) Homepage

        You're not tempted by the Ferrari because odds are, you can afford the transportation you need. OTOH, if you were living in the alley across from work because you couldn't afford a car or an apartment within reasonable transportation to work, you'd be a LOT more tempted, especially if the odds of being caught were next to nil. I'm not saying you'd take it, but you WOULD be more tempted.

        If you grew up and lived in a society where the only people you ever knew who actually had their physical needs met were corrupt, you might never develop a proper sense of morals at all. Every life lesson would be that morals make you starve.

      • by Xtravar (725372)

        I'm not tempted into crime where I see a Ferrari on the street

        You don't play enough GTA. Man, sometimes I just want to hop in that Ferrari and find the nearest ramp so I can get a stunt bonus!

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by radtea (464814)

        I'm not tempted into crime where I see a Ferrari on the street -- and I would guess that the same is true for most folks.

        Which is why most folks don't own Ferraris, and most Ferrari owners have some pretty questionable behaviour in their past. You don't get that kind of money without doing something pretty slimey for a living, like being a bank executive or otherwise participating in the amoral circus that is the American financial system.

        • by shirai (42309) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:49PM (#30939562) Homepage

          Wow, seriously?

          How do this get modded up? It seems like the only kind of people that you can stereotype and prejudice safely are the rich. "Most" people that I know who own expensive cars or boats are amongst the nicest and most moral people I know. Not everything is like television or the movies.

          I'm not sure whether it's worth admitting but I own a Ferrari and I would consider myself having a very high moral code. I treat my employees really well (One of my companies was rated 2nd best company to work for in BC), I pay all my business taxes (in an audit we were caught something like $50 for an accidental missing receipt out of millions) and I declare every last thing at the border.

          I know that anecdote (especially personal anecdote) is not data but also my accountant is quite wealthy (he is one of the most morally upstanding accountants I know and somehow his clients are all rich. He is also a philanthropist.), my financial manager runs the Vancouver branch of a financial firm and he is upstanding. And believe it or not (and you probably won't), my lawyer is one of the nicest and one of the most honest and upstanding people I know.

          Ok, so those people don't own a Ferrari (I actually don't know any other Ferrari owners), but one owns an expensive classic car and another owns a nice boat and they all could probably afford one.

          So are there bad versions of the same? Of course. But being somewhat rich, I don't find that being rich has anything to do with being slimey. I know plenty of people who are both rich and poor who are morally bankrupt and morally upstanding. Generally speaking, in my circles though, the rich people are more morally upstanding as a proportion. That being said, my sample size is small and I'm sure I have a huge selection bias in who I associate with.

          Sunny

          • How do this get modded up? It seems like the only kind of people that you can stereotype and prejudice safely are the rich.

            No, one may safely stereotype and prejudice fat people too. You can tease them all day long and they still can't run fast enough to catch up and beat the everloving shit out of you.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Princeofcups (150855)

            Wow, seriously?

            How do this get modded up? It seems like the only kind of people that you can stereotype and prejudice safely are the rich. "Most" people that I know who own expensive cars or boats are amongst the nicest and most moral people I know. Not everything is like television or the movies.

            I am not saying that you are incorrect, by your definitions of moral and good and nice. But I would like to hear what your workers think of you. Their needs and concerns are probably quite different from yours, and you may not even realize it.

            • by shirai (42309)

              I know I am completely biased but I have a high level of confidence that what I say is true even though it is subjective.

              Many of my employees have told me that this is the best place they've worked at and I've had some of them break down in tears while they've said it. Other people we've invited to our Christmas dinner have said that the atmosphere is so positive in a way that they've never seen before. We play games for the last hour of every Friday for bonding. When we make sprint goals every 3/4 weeks, w

          • by radtea (464814)

            It got modded up because those of us who've moved around and seen the world have come across far too many scumbags who've been monetarily successful, often while loudly proclaiming their own high moral standards (self-described "Bible-believing Christians" are my personal favourite--there is no better signal that a person is a cheat and a scoundrel.)

            I'm not sure why you'd think my impressions come from TV or the movies, rather than a wide range of successful experience in both business and academia in the U

        • by bigbird (40392)

          Which is why most folks don't own Ferraris, and most Ferrari owners have some pretty questionable behaviour in their past. You don't get that kind of money without doing something pretty slimey for a living, like being a bank executive or otherwise participating in the amoral circus that is the American financial system.

          Or you could be a successful athlete, business owner, doctor, dentist, .... and not all bankers are immoral y'know.

          Sounds like envy to me. In my experience of knowing quite a few rich peop

      • The causal relationship you imply here doesn't exist. It isn't inequality that's at fault, its these lads' greed coupled with lack of morals. I'm not tempted into crime where I see a Ferrari on the street -- and I would guess that the same is true for most folks.

        I'm not either. Then again I drive a fairly nice, 5 year old VW, live in a multi-bedroom apartment, and have not wondered how I was going to afford three meals a day in a very long time. It's easy enough, when you are middle class, or even working class, to see these people and feel no sympathy. Hell, you'd even be right, they are criminals, and they are victimizing people. On the other hand, starving sucks. Is the criminal who steals a loaf of bread so he (or his family) can eat the same as the crimina

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Try living on a $100/month salary and we'll see how tempted you are to steal that Ferrari (which you could sell, at the minimum, for $500 to a chop shop).

    • You posed the problem, what is your solution?

  • by dorre (1731288) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:48PM (#30936626)
    I really think that the 'journalist' failed miserably.

    Although the story felt credible and added some insight into the scammers everyday life the story didn't provide any information. And in the end when the 'scammer' starts providing new information the 'journalist' get's angry and starts accusing him like a child.

    What if the 'scammer' can feel better about himself after spreading information? I mean shouldn't people who have done bad things be allowed to make remorse and NOT have to feel guilty their whole lives???? I mean Jesus Christ.....
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I agree and also was disappointed that the second part of the interview was conducted the way it was. I noticed in one of the early comments to the second part that the interviewer admits to not being a professional journalist, and that he is human and his emotions got the best of him. That alleviated my disappointment a little... but it is still a shame that this opportunity was lost. It would be interesting if "John" has the courage to contact another organization that might be willing to interview him.

    • by Nursie (632944)

      "I mean shouldn't people who have done bad things be allowed to make remorse and NOT have to feel guilty their whole lives????"

      That depends on what you mean about not having to feel guilty. Coming to terms with what put them in that situation, why they did what they did and how they can live a good life afterwards? hell yes.

      Blaming the victim andmaking excuses about why it wasn't so bad and wasn't your fault? Less so. Those are excuses.

    • by conureman (748753)

      "I am not now, nor have I ever been, a trained journalist. "John" contacted me out of the blue and the first part of the interview was conducted with no preparation whatsoever, and I had no idea when (if) he would call again. I was, frankly, winging it."
      The author responded to a similar comment in TFA.

    • by Bluey (27101)

      The story felt less credible to me. The interview read more like one guy asking questions and then answering them in guise, rather than two people going back and forth. It lacked authenticity and felt more like manufactured drama. I'm sure the overall information about how scams work is based on fact, but the relating of it just felt off.

      • A scam story about a fictitious scammer's history of scamming people. The blogosphere at it's finest!
    • by mewsenews (251487)

      What if the 'scammer' can feel better about himself after spreading information? I mean shouldn't people who have done bad things be allowed to make remorse and NOT have to feel guilty their whole lives???? I mean Jesus Christ.....

      Funnily enough, forgiveness was one of Christ's greatest teachings. The article left a bad taste in my mouth also.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      What country do you live in? It is certainly not the USA, where, for every thing you ever do, a little mark is made on a credit report or a criminal report, and forever thereafter scrutinized by anyone you might want a loan from, a house from, a job from, etc. TANSTA protection from effective double-jeopardy here, friend. You pay, and you pay some more, and you keep paying, until you die. Then your children pay.
  • The interviewer got angry at the interviewee and hung up on them. Way to be professional.

  • I know I'm preaching to the choir, but it just goes to show you. NEVER trust ANYONE on the Ineternet. Not even your friends [msnbc.com].

    Throw in some old adages about "too good to be true," "fool and his money," etc., and it ain't rocket science. Yes, I blame "John" for the evils of these scams. But you know what? There's plenty of blame to go around. I also blame the victims, too, for being so greedy and/or naive.

    • But how do I know I can trust you?

  • by h00manist (800926) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:55PM (#30936790) Journal
    i once went to three police stations to denounce a fraudster, who i had phone, name, address and several victims for. all three police stations turned me away. one told me it's not crime, as people handed their money voluntarily, so it's actually just a civil case. he was later in the news for being arrested. http://manhattanda.org/whatsnew/press/2003-04-23.shtml [manhattanda.org] -- i don't really know what's the deal, but i did notice these cases are hard to prosecute. i'll never forget hanging out with sultan al-sabah as he trailed japanese girls, and later trying to get money back from the royal fraudster.
    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      Except for something like murder or something that affects enough people for the state to bring charges up, it's up to the victim to bring charges against someone. You can't just say "I know this guy is defrauding these people, and here's my evidence", the victim has to bring charges for the police to do anything. For example, if a woman is raped and you see it happen, no matter what you say the rapist will never be charged if the victim does not want to file charges.

      It's just the way it works.

      It's doubly

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        if a woman is raped and you see it happen, no matter what you say the rapist will never be charged if the victim does not want to file charges.

        Unless, of course, the rapist is her husband. Many states now have mandatory arrest for spousal abuse. Its nice to know rapists are better protected than spouses.

    • The last (and first) time I got a fake cashier's check I called the police both locally and in the town where I was supposed to send the money. Their response was that they couldn't do anything because until I cashed the check (for which I was liable), no crime had been committed.

      Long story short, there's no way to catch potential fraud without the victim risking going to jail as well.

      Ridiculous.

      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        Long story short, there's no way to catch potential fraud without the victim risking going to jail as well.

        No, in your case there was no victim, and had you cashed the check knowing it was fake you would be an accomplice and the charge would probably be money laundering.

        The only time fraud is commited is when someone has been defrauded. That means you had to cash the check without knowing it was fake, losing your money, and then going to the police. Then a crime has been committed and they can go after the guy.

        It's a reactionary system, not a preactionary system, and it is almost always the better approach. T

      • by ajlisows (768780)

        When I am contacted about those "Emplomant oppertunitys" by some guy running the fake money order scam, I always go along with it. I think these guys pretty much know it, but they need to be attempting to counterfeit a certain amount of money (It is somewhere around $5500. I have not checked in awhile) before they are seriously pursued by the authorities. I just figure if they happen to screw up one time and send enough, I might get one put away. At the very least, they send the money orders UPS Red Ove

        • Ha. I like that--I'll start asking for that. Although I'm always nervous about sending them my actual real mailing (home) address.
          • by ajlisows (768780)

            I was too, to some extent. Then I thought "Odds are they aren't anywhere near where I live. I doubt they are going to book a plane/train or drive a car hundreds of miles because I screwed them out of the cost of a UPS Red Package (though one guy sent it UPS Early morning Saturday....that had to hurt). I don't divulge any other real information. Fake name, fake Date of Birth, whatever.

            Honestly, the money order scammers have gotten worse. The first ones I ever received were Postal Money orders. I showed

  • Horrible interview (Score:4, Informative)

    by deft (253558) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:15PM (#30937214) Homepage

    If you read the entire article you'd see he eventually just gets upset and cuts it off. No good prepared questions, just amateur personal anger. Really a fail.

  • by s-whs (959229) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:24PM (#30937472)

    The problem is the general attitude in Nigeria. This scamming is like a national pastime.

    What causes it I don't know, but I'd like to point out:

    1. Being stupid is no justification for being ripped off, so please no moronic comments that those were were duped deserved it.

    2. There are far far worse people around you, from your own country, that are ripping off you and many others for far greater amounts of money and/or doing far worse damage in other ways. An example is of course many politicians. But on the whole, the entire layer of top management and politicians who often end up in those positions, are causing much more harm and sucking huge amounts of money out of companies and healthcare too. Did you ever hear of a manager who performed badly, was fired and therefore got no further payments? No? I haven't either. They make a mess of things, then get fired and get a bonus or severance pay, whatever you want to call it, higher than the first prize in the national lottery here... If you're a lowly worker, you get fired and need to request unemployment benefits and start applying for jobs immediately. Why don't they need to?

    These people keep getting such jobs, probably because of friends in boards of various companies. Or if not real friends, then it's done as a mutual favour: I help you and in the future you will help me. Which is essentially what 'networking' is all about, i.e. a form of cronyism.

    Another example I recently encountered made me think that there are lawyers who have found the perfect legal scam. The example I'm giving here is Pieter Lakeman, who set up a foundation "stichting DSB leed" for supposed victims of bad mortgages given out by the BSD bank. What is going on is as follows: He identified that there might be some bad loans, badly given advice, then extrapolates this to almost all loans, sets up this foundation, from which you can get help for a small amount of money, sa 50 euro. Now there's no guarantee that your loan is bad/badly done or you were given wrong information by the bank, so this foundation can 'check' loans, say "nothing we can do" and they don't need to pay back any money of that. I read that he and another guy who set up this foundation gave themselves a salary of 300 euro per hour...

    That's a nice way of getting yourself self-employed at stratosphere salaries.

    This asshole then proceeds to put the word out that people should remove money from DSB and in the end it goes bankrupt because of this (and because the finance minister doesn't want to help. Eh, why not after the billions of loans to other banks? Why indeed...)

    It turns out, as checks after this bankruptcy have shown, that very few loans were bad (inappropriate, or given with bad advice etc.).

    He has not only caused a great amount of damage, he's also legally scammed almost all the people who paid money for that 'review of their loan'.

    It's a fantastic scam: You identify something that might be wrong somewhere, then set up a foundation, which people can become a member of or have something checked out by, for a relatively small amount, such that you wouldn't go to court over it... Then you just check loans or whatever that foundation would do, at 300 euro an hour (i.e. 10 minutes per loan in this case) and of course find nothing wrong or say "it will be included in the legal action". In the end nothing happens, and in this case, making the bank go bankrupt is a pretty good way to say you can't do anything any more as the executors now say what will happen with assets/loans etc.

    I have suggestion for another ruthless lawyer: Set up a foundation to counter the scam of Lakeman. Charge 15 euro per case, then of course in the end you say after studying the foundation's charter that there's nothing you can do...

  • An Excellent Start (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rebmemeR (1056120) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:51PM (#30938184)
    Dear Mr. Interviewer, I am Director of Research at The International Anti-Scam Association. Your interview of John is an excellent start toward uncovering the truth about these scams. There is so much more potential for investigating committed crimes and preventing future crimes. I would like to offer my services toward further interviewing John and his ilk. Let us cooperate toward this goal. The first thing we need to do is pretend to be scam victims. We will have to put up a little money at first to establish this, but this will open doors into dens of iniquity, providing ample opportunities for interviews. If this plan sounds good to you, please wire $1000 to my account (#2476-02) at The National Bank of Angola. Regards, Bruce L. Norris
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:52PM (#30938208)

    I'm a news reporter, and recently saw the other side close-up. Over a period of months, a local woman had sent cash several times to a man who claimed she'd won a multi-million dollar sweepstakes. A couple of times, she called the cops, who came and talked to her, and tried to convince her it was a scam. Then she'd send more money. When she ran out of money, the scammer told her to buy jewelry on a credit card, and sent that "to be appraised." She was told the up-front payment was a "tax formality" and simply couldn't come out of her winnings, and that the jewelry would be returned to her when the transaction was completed. They also insisted she use FedEx or UPS, not U.S. Mail.

    After they got the jewelry, they called and told her that a "courier" had flown into the local airport with her cash, but they hadn't been able to get a hold of her that day. So, they had put the money in a storage locker there, where it had run up another $1,700 in storage fees (in 3 days). When she went to put more jewelry on her credit card, the jeweler became suspicious, and also tried to convince her it was a scam.

    Around this time, the woman called the police yet again. Working with the police in the city where she'd sent the jewelry, they raided the address and recovered her stuff. A local cop (who had been assigned to her case, and had been working with her for months) told her in person that the jewelry had been recovered and was being returned. A few hours after the police raid, the scammers called the woman, and told her they were sending the jewelry back to her (and that local police would be delivering it, to ensure it arrived safely).

    Then! They told her that there had been a miscommunication, and the tax rules required the jewelry be appraised independently in two different states. The reason they were sending the jewelry back to her was that as the owner, she was the only one legally allowed to request an appraisal. The police returned her jewelry, and she sent it to the new address!

    I talked with her several times over a period of weeks, corraborating everything with the police. Throughout that time, she was scared that:

    1. If I wrote a story saying it was a scam, she wouldn't get her money
    2. If I wrote a story saying it was a scam, the guys might come hurt her.

    I, and the police, finally just gave up. People can be so blinded by greed (and dumb to start with) that they'll force this whole thing to make sense.

  • I call BS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ElSupreme (1217088) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:13PM (#30938780)
    The second part in particular did not seem legit at all. Rather a person posing a question and then answering it himself. There was no real detail in any of it. I know the basics of a 'Spanish prisoner' scam. There is nothing in there you couldn't make up after reading a Wikipedia article.

    And honestly you get mad and hang up on the guy because he is scamming people that are desperate. I am sorry but desperate people get scammed all the time. Professional journalist or not come on getting upset is overblown in the situation the 'conversation' supposedly was going in.

    This is just a scam by a 'help stop scams' website, and in my opinion much worse than running an upfront scam.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Prisoner [wikipedia.org]
    • Yeah seriously... who the hell gets mad when they're interviewing someone? What a waste of time... and I (and you) read both articles!

  • FTA:

    Maybe 9 or 10 out of every thousand emails. Then maybe 1 out of every 20 replies would lead to us getting money out of the victim in the end.

    Those numbers are depressing. They're sending out literally billions of emails, and they're getting a response rate of about 1 per 20,000. No wonder it continues.

    I suppose the bell curve has to have two tails, and so the dumbest .05% of the Internet is always going to be pretty dumb. It's aggravating that the remaining 99.95% of us have to put up with the barrage of spam so that they can locate that dumbest .05%.

    It's even worse, though, of those vast numbers of emails, probably 99% of them never reac

    • > I suppose the bell curve has to have two tails, and so the dumbest .05% of
      > the Internet is always going to be pretty dumb

      Gullibility and stupidity are not the same thing. Stupid people who know and accept that they are not very smart can be quite hard to scam while moderately intelligent people with exaggerated ideas about their own abilities (for example, believing that they can always tell when someone is lying) can be real suckers.

  • Yes I lived a poor childhood and was convicted, but I am now reformed. During my time in prison I met one man named John Holmes who has hid a stash of $25,000,000 (twenty five million dollars) but is unable to retrieve it, I offer you the opportunity to assist us by posting this on Slashdot and providing an advance on $1000 (one thousand dollars) for administrative purposes. Once I have received the moneys I will transfer $2,500,000 to a bank account of your choice. Thank you and God bless -John
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @04:53PM (#30940880)
    How can I schedule an interview with a 419 scammer, and am I allowed to bring a baseball bat?
  • This sounded almost exactly like a novel on 419 scams that came out last year. It's called "I do not come to you by chance". The protagonist is almost exactly like "John" here except that he graduates with an engineering degree but isn't able to find a job.
  • In 1990 there were people who would call back to a pigeon who had lost money on phone scams. Many of these people were chronic losers who purchased phoney deal after phoney deal. Then they would ultimately get a call from a fellow who would claim to be a former FBI agent who was investigating and would recoup their losses. He would ask a $500. up front fee and claim that he needed an additional 15% of all that he recovered. Of course the $500 was a dead loss as he never intended to find money for a

  • by shoor (33382) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @06:23PM (#30942504)
    Has anyone ever done research on the psychology of the victims? There are people who are compulsive gamblers, and people who can't say no to a salesman. It's easy to say that the people who fall for the scams are greedy, but, as was pointed out in the interview, some people are suckered in by hard luck stories too. Even then, something must be going on to overwhelm the victim's common sense, something that ends up being self-destructive, and also destructive for their families. I wonder if any psychologist has ever tried to set up some online pseudo-scam just to locate people who are susceptible to scams so that they could be studied the way, for example, that addiction is studied.

Debug is human, de-fix divine.

Working...