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419 Scammer Gets Scammed 295

johnduffell writes "There's a lot of awareness of 419 scams at the moment, including a report from the BBC of a baiter who managed to get $80 and a birthday card by courier! He did this by convincing the scammer that he was in the Church of the Painted Breast and there's even a photo of the scammer with his breast painted! Presumably the scammers are hoping that the scammees are as stupid as they are."
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419 Scammer Gets Scammed

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  • by beh ( 4759 ) * on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:21PM (#9688141)
    The question now is just, whether the stupid idiot on the other hand might
    actually sue those who tricked him for having been scammed for US$80.

    There is not much chance he would get anything out of this, as he
    tried to scam people himself, nevertheless - it might keep the guy
    here quite busy for a while (because he might STILL have to appear
    in front of a court).

    Now - THAT would be interesting to see... ;-)

    Always remember - they might be on the "safe side", since THEIR
    judicial system doesn't care too much about them. But on the other
    hand, by tricking the 419 scammer out of his money, we are breaking
    OUR laws (be that in the US, Europe, or wherever you are - and our
    courts look very different on these issues!). Or - in simple
    terms: Two wrongs don't make a right!

    Also - in comparison, the guy in Nigeria is guilty of ATTEMPTED
    fraud, whereas the guy who tricked him out of his US$80 is guilty
    of ACTUAL fraud...

    Don't get me wrong - I'm all for making sure that this whole 419
    scam thing stops. But I don't think we should simply skip the
    principles of our 'western world' while doing it!
    • by sH4RD ( 749216 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:24PM (#9688185) Homepage
      Tell that to the P-P-P-Powerbook scammer [].
    • Would the USA extradite to Nigeria over such a matter?
      • by NeoSkandranon ( 515696 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:29PM (#9688249)
        I rather doubt the US would extradite to Nigeria over anything
      • It doesn't matter - the 419scamee would only need extradition if we was after recovering his US$80 (and possible damanges).

        BUT - fraud is a punishable offence, and in this case it was committed IN a western country, and as such, it would probably be sufficient to tip off the local authorities (district attorney, or similar) about the scam. In countries like Switzerland or Germany (and I would suspect in most western countries) the district attorney would be OBLIGED to follow up on this, since it is a CRIMI
        • If this 'reverse' scam was pulled off in the US.....I'd hope they'd put ME on the jury. No way I'd vote this guy guilty. In the US, the jury box is still the one place that any common citizen is as powerful as the President of the least as I understand it.
        • The scammee would have gotten more than $80 if it had been a "she" with a painted breast. I'm guessing the reason it was only $80 was because they were looking at a fuzzy picture and were only hoping it was a lady.
    • by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:29PM (#9688246)
      If they ever knocked on the 419 eater's door, all he'd have to say is, "Listen, I know what it looks like on the website, but it's all photoshopped and fake. I emailed the guy, but he never sent the money. It's my cash, a picture the guy sent, and a photoshopped photo of the envelope."

      They'd never get a conviction.

      I AM NOT A LAWYER, but if the guy ever gets that knock, the only thing he should say is, "I want a lawyer," over and over again until he gets one.

      You're correct, though: two wrongs don't make a right. There's no point in having a Criminal Justice system if we don't uphold our laws and lead by example. Rather than punish the scammer by ripping him off, he should have used the information he gathered to get charges pressed against him in Nigeria.
    • Two wrongs don't make a right!
      Oh yeah it does when you can get a guy to paint his breast, take a picture of it and send that along with a birthday card and $80 to you. Fraternities need to fuel their pledges up on cheap beer to come even close to this. The only one better I have heard of is the powerbook scam from a few months back.
    • by NoData ( 9132 ) <_NoData_&yahoo,com> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:32PM (#9688285)
      But, two wrongs do make a funny!
      • One of the funniest 419 scam-related sites that, as far as I can see, hasn't been mentioned yet is Ebolamonkeyman []. If you haven't seen it be sure to check it out (if you want to see your favorite porn starts, uh... I mean celebrities scam scammers, that is).
    • by dcocos ( 128532 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:41PM (#9688399)
      A I learned from the book "50 Things You Aren't Supposed to Know" and the Fully Informed Jury Association. Juries, while using the law as a guide, they may choose not convict even though the person may be guilty by the letter and even the spirit of the law. Jury nullification would be well warrented. (Now the people mentioned in the article are British and I am not familiar with British law, though I believe this right was developed based on the model laid out in the Magna Carta.)
    • by Phisbut ( 761268 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:42PM (#9688410)
      If the scammer decides to sue the scambait, he'd have to do it on US (or Europe) territory, therefore exposing himself to a counter-sue (probably for attempted fraud). Both for the original suit defense and for the counter-suit, the scambait's party could require some financial records of the scammer to be examined. Those examinations could reveal the actual fraud on thousands of victims, thus enabling a major class-action suit from all the victims against the original scammer...

      I doubt the scammer will expose himself to that kind of risk...

      But then again... IANAL...
    • by yog ( 19073 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:49PM (#9688501) Homepage Journal
      But on the other hand, by tricking the 419 scammer out of his money, we are breaking OUR laws (be that in the US, Europe, or wherever you are...

      That's fuzzy thinking.

      What law did this fellow break, exactly? He asked someone to send him some money, they did, and he kept it. There was no legal, signed contract between them. There was no handshake or face-to-face meeting or phone call or anything. Just an unsolicited email requesting money that was answered with an equally unsolicited request for money.

      If someone walks up to you on the street and says, "Please give me your bank account number so that I can share millions of dollars with you" and you say "OK, but it will cost you $80" and they hand you $80, have you stolen their money if you then don't share your bank account number with them, which they want for obviously nefarious purposes? I know of no law that covers this sort of behavior between two private individuals.

      Morally speaking you have more of a point. The question is, is it immoral to steal from a thief, or rather in this case to trick a thief into giving you some of their ill-gotten gains? Questionable.
      • I know a law (Score:3, Insightful)

        by coljac ( 154587 )
        It's the anti-fraud statute. I mean, duh - lying to get money from someone is the very definition of fraud.

      • IANAL but this is how I understand it:

        A legal contract is defined by one party making an offer, including "consideration" - i.e. what each person agrees to do for the other - and the other party accepting it. As long as all parties are capable of making the transaction and the actions themselves are not illegal, both are legally bound to carry out their side of the agreement.

        Situation: the scammer asks you for your back account number. You say: "OK, but it will cost you $80." You've just made an offer whi
      • Dangit, hit enter. If you set someone up to do something and give them reasonable expectation that you will do something in return, that's legally binding.

        I realize the 419eater is a UK'ian, but I imagine the laws involved would be similar.
    • Two wrongs don't make a right, but sometimes two rights make a third right, and if you have three rights you've broken even and ended up in the same place you started. :-)
    • I don;t think they'd sue. One of the issues is that these are usually headed by organized criminals, and I doubt that they would risk being charged with attempted fraud in a way which would require their financial records to be examined. Furthermore, since they use obvious subterfuge in their emails (fake identities, etc.) I think it would be pretty hard for them to gain any sort of sympathy from a jury.

      In the end, I think that when you figure the risk involved to them and the cost even for small claims
    • Have you ever heard of "Jury Nullification"?

      I think that this case is a prime example of when it needs to be used. Sure this guy may have broken the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law. The law exists to protect the innocent from predators and keep order. This reverse scam kept a predator too busy to exploit the innocent and thereby saved some other innocent person from falling victim.

      If I were on a jury hearing this man's case, chances are SLIM in the extreme that I would seriously consider
  • This is funny but, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:23PM (#9688162)
    Isn't running a reverse scam like this one illegal? I mean, the nigerian scammer got what he deserved in every way, but isn't it kind of dangerous to do these kinds of reverse scams? I know the governments in the U.S. and UK might actually prosecute, which the nigerian scammers don't have to worry about from their govs.
    • Who would pursue it? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phorm ( 591458 )
      Would the 419'er true and prosecute you for counterscamming? I think not.

      It's the old "you can't con an honest man" (not entirely true, but often enough so). People will be hooked in on something that doesn't sound legit, but they're too greedy for sound big-bucks or quick-cash that they fall for it. When they get scammed, they don't go to the police because to do so would be basically admitting they were duped while trying to circumvent the law.

      Of course, there are some notably stupid exceptions. I bel
    • I know the governments in the U.S. and UK might actually prosecute

      True. However, at least in the US, the Bill of Rights [], Article 6 says we have the right "to be confronted with the witnesses against" us. Which means not only do you have to find a prosecutor asinine enough to press charges against the counterscammer, but the original scammer has to SHOW UP in court to testify... and risk being arrested and charged in turn.

      Furthermore, I suspect (though IANAL) that $80 would not be enough to bring you
  • by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:23PM (#9688167) Homepage Journal
    From the article:
    If you're tempted, just remember Prince Joe who's still sending e-mails saying he's sticking to his promise and saying the daily prayer: "When all above seems a great test, Get on down with the Holy Red Breast."

    w00t! Where do I join?
  • Little Old (Score:2, Informative)

    by slashrogue ( 775436 )
    The story about the whole Church of the Painted Breast thing has been on for quite some time now. It's long, but certainly amusing.
  • by ajiva ( 156759 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:23PM (#9688174)
    Personally I like this one better:
    • The best part -

      Pastor Rao, I have had a request made to me by me brother-in-law. He is the owner of a very large chain of seafood suppliers. His company is called 419 Eater Seafood Supplies. You can see his site at My brother was extremely impressed by the excellent work that you did with the sign and he wondered if you would be willing to make a similar sign for him to use for his company? He would like to use it as a flag outside his company headquarters.

      Let's just tell him we know

    • About 6 or 7 years ago I founded my own.

      "The Church of Pornography of Latter Day Saints"

      I haven't decided on whether to call members "Hormons", "Whormons" or something else.

  • You know... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:24PM (#9688178) Journal
    ...the first time one of these smarmy nerds gets his ass handed to him by a pissed-off criminal, I'll definitely be feeling the urge to laugh a bit...
    • Re:You know... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ...the first time one of these smarmy nerds gets his ass handed to him by a pissed-off criminal, I'll definitely be feeling the urge to laugh a bit...

      From all the way over in Nigeria? Must have really long arms...?
      • Re:You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kfg ( 145172 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:44PM (#9688438)
        If you read the article and/or had ever read 419eater you'd know that this is an extensive international ring.

        As it happens they have confederates in London and Mike can be assumed to be in England given that it's a BBC story. Holland is also a big center of the "Nigerian" scam. They can afford all of this because, I'm afraid, the scam actually works.

        While the poor schlubs who actually work the scam in the initial phases are poor patsys the people actually working the scam are rich, powerful and often even Nigerian government and law enforcement officers, which is part of what makes prosecutions of the scammers a nonstarter in Nigeria.

    • Re:You know... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by king-manic ( 409855 )
      ...the first time one of these smarmy nerds gets his ass handed to him by a pissed-off criminal, I'll definitely be feeling the urge to laugh a bit...

      Firstly, the only way this will happen if said nerd went to the criminals country. Which would be incredibly stupid. Secondly, most of these scammers are of relativly modest means. they couldn't scrounge up the cash to get a visa and fly into the states to do anything, their also pretty dumb. They might be able to track down the person via email and ip look
    • Customs: (Score:5, Funny)

      by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:39PM (#9688357)
      Customs Agent: Reason for entering the country?

      Scammer: I'm here to beat the tar out of David Hyde Pierce of the Church of the Painted Breast, who stole $80 from me while I was trying to rip him off for $18,000.

      Customs Agent: *puts on gloves* Step into this room, sir.
    • "...the first time one of these smarmy nerds gets his ass handed to him by a pissed-off criminal, I'll definitely be feeling the urge to laugh a bit..."

      Please, Brother Kothapalli Rao, don't be to upset. I am Father Dumb'en'dumber, and I have no idea what you're talking about.
  • Failure (Score:5, Funny)

    by cloudkj ( 685320 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:24PM (#9688186)
    The scammer only got $80 and a birthday card? I've gotten gift certificates, iPods, $500 checks, and wedding invitations with my run of the good ol' church of Painted Breast scam!
  • Double ended Greed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quirk ( 36086 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:25PM (#9688191) Homepage Journal
    Greed is the common denominator whether it be the greed of the scamee or of the scamer. It goes way back to the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't. Couple greed to gulibility and you've got the wild west show that is the www.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, seeing how successful the 419 scammers are, I dont think $80 is really going to put a dent in their budget.

    When they get counterscammed for a significant amount, let me know.

  • Stupid.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by SlashDread ( 38969 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:29PM (#9688243)
    "Presumably the scammers are hoping that the scammees are as stupid as they are."

    Having met a decent slice of Human population, I can say that in fact that is the case.

  • I have responded to the nigerian scams. Pretending to be a spy. I sighted specific locations and recent events that took place in the country. Never heard back from them.
  • by cryptor3 ( 572787 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:37PM (#9688336) Journal
    Several commenters have expressed concern that what this guy is doing is equally wrong, and that he could risk getting sued.

    Besides the previously mentioned unlikeliness of any sort of extradition, the article made clear that all proceeds from these reverse scams go to a children's charity. Therefore he's clearly not doing this for personal gain.

    I'm would guess that as long as this type of thing doesn't become a serious epidemic, there's no reason the reverse scammers would receive an adverse judgement. Besides, someone has to lodge a complaint against this activity, and who's gonna do that?
  • Artists Against 419 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spazholio ( 314843 ) <{slashdot} {at} {}> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:39PM (#9688359) Homepage
    If you don't want to directly engage the scammers, but still want to hurt their cause, check out this [] site. All the images there are taken from the fake banking sites that the scammers set up. The pages refresh every 2 minutes to keep the bandwidth usage going. If you REALLY want to hurt them, and have bandwidth to spare, try going to this [] page. It will load 12 images, all from the aforementioned fake banking sites as fast as your connection will allow.
  • by Digital Mage ( 124845 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:39PM (#9688363)
    The story reminded me of this site []. I'm not sure if the responses are real but I particularly enjoyed reading the Cthulhu response to a 419.
  • by GPLDAN ( 732269 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:39PM (#9688365)
    There's a very good reason that Mike didn't want to give the BBC his real name. These guys are like the mafia, I don't think they appreciate being made fools of. Many Nigerians believe in "Sharia" - or the death penalty for all kinds of transgressions. Source link []

    Probably not good people to have your home address and phone.
    • I don't think someone with mob connections is running these scams. Anyone with proper connections would be into money laundering, drug dealing, arms trade, etc. which would all be more lucrative then sending out spam and hoping to find some stupid person willing to send them a few thousand $.
    • I don't think the scammers are going to be complaining too loudly. 419 scams are a form of theft, and under Sharia law thieves have a hand cut off. Pretty barbaric, but these days liberal Muslims would much rather have a modern legal and penal system.

      Islam doesn't have a unique claim to this sort of barbarity. According to the Bible [], if you find a thief breaking in, you can simply kill him. If he is caught later, and doesn't have sufficient funds to make restitution, he can be sold into slavery [].

      The pe
      • by BarefootClown ( 267581 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @03:50PM (#9690006) Homepage

        According to the Bible, if you find a thief breaking in, you can simply kill him.

        That's how it is according to Oklahoma law, too, and many other states.

        It's called the "make my day" law: if I find you breaking into my home (castle doctrine), you are presumed to be there with the capability and intent to do me harm. Accordingly, I can employ lethal force in my own defense. And, for the record, I don't consider this barbaric at all: if you're invading my home, why should I have to stand at grave disadvantage and risk of grievous bodily harm while determining what your plans are? Out on the street, in public, etc., yes--circumstances are open to interpretation, and I need to be sure that the threat actually exists. When you break into my home, though, you're explicitly demonstrating some threat, even unarmed. There is no confusion about your intent when you've broken into my home: you're there to break the law, and you've demonstrated that by doing so (B&E is illegal). How many more laws you're going to break, I don't know, but I'm not obliged to wait for you to start assaulting/killing/raping/etc. me/my family before I act defensively.

        Anyhow, no, Islam is not unique in how it deals with home invasion, but I don't consider that barbaric, just good defensive practice. As for hand-chopping, well, I don't care for the practice (I think it is barbaric), and I don't like the idea of selling him into slavery, either (though I'm quite fond of the idea of restitution), but I don't get to make those decisions (at least not until I take over the world).

        • I was burgled this year. The thief took some cigarettes, an old phone, a broken camera and helped himself to food in the fridge.

          The food bit was suprising to me. I wonder how we can live in a society where people must steal food in order to live. I felt sorry for him because worrying about eating has never been a problem for me.

          Does he deserve to die for a few crusty bit of bread? No. Death is not a suitable punishment.

          "Make my day"? I feel sorry for you too.
  • Is it just me? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hsoft ( 742011 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:42PM (#9688414) Homepage
    Or these successful counter-scams (this one and the p-p-p-powerbook thing) sound too funny to be real? The more I think about it, the more I think these counter-scams are just hoax posted by some guys looking for cyber-attention. Well, the p-p-powerbook thing seemd to involve too many people not to be real, but this breast painting thing definately sounds like a hoax to me.
    • by Dimensio ( 311070 ) <darkstar.iglou@com> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @02:06PM (#9688677)
      ...try it yourself. Study the posted scam baiter correspondence and try to mimic it with a few pet mugus. You'll find that while some of them are wise, many of them will fall for quite a bit of bullshit.

      I've not yet conned money from anyone, but I have managed to get two scammers to be 'baptized' in the name of my church (the Church of the Golden Shower), and you can see the pics linked in a previous posting of mine [] (the pics are also in the Trophy Room, along with two other trophies that I received previously, one of them a Father's Day card for my dad, but right now the site is slashdotted). The "Golden Shower" baits are still ongoing, and I'm tempted to get the scammers to send me something via snail mail. Perhaps not money, but maybe hardcopies of the photos.

      At some point I plan to document the email exchanges that led up to me receiving the pictures. I'm not as funny in my presentation, but it would at least give other baiters who haven't had luck getting pics an idea of how to convince the scammers to send one (in my case, I played along until they asked for money, then confessed that I personally couldn't afford what they wanted, but I could appropriate church funds ONLY if they agreed to join the church).

      I have no reason to doubt the Church of the Painted Breast bait. The guy in the pic was successfully baited by others (note that one of the pics that Shiver/Mike/David sent is of a group of clowns with other pictures of "Joe" photoshopped in -- those came from other baiters, and you can see one where he's dumping water on his head and holding a sign that reads "SOAKED!") and Shiver is a resident expert amongst the baiting community.
    • this breast painting thing definately sounds like a hoax to me
      Have a look at or a similar site. Photos of the scammers are valued trophies, so it's a case of working out a passable reason for needing a photo of the scammer. That's the whole point of the breast-painting thing, and in that light it becomes not merely plausible but elegant.
  • by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:44PM (#9688434)
    It's a statistics thing. If 50% of all their marks take 3 weeks to find out their some 13 year old playing a prank on their african ass, then it becoem 50% less profitable. IF we ensure the number of counter-scammers and time wasters is equal to or greater then the number of gullible fools then we're doing the fools a favor and reducing how many marks the scammers cand o. Also we might be savign lives. These scammer try to invite these people to their country, then rob/beat/kill them for their possesions. So I'l suggest all \.'s do what ever you can to help. Find a nigerian scam mail? reply and fake interest. At least waste their time.
    • I have a similar tactic I use on telemarketers
      (and before you telemarketing /.-ers flame me out of karma, just think about your ratio of hangups/cussings -to- sells each day; NOBODY likes telemarketing except telemarketers -- and from what I gather even most of you would drop it like a bad habit if you felt like you had something else to fall back on...);
      Without ever actually buying anything, I take up as much of their time as I can so they can aggravate the fewest people (overall) at the highest e
  • convincing the scammer that he was in the Church of the Painted Breast

    I work for the Ministry of Silly Walks.

  • by spidergoat2 ( 715962 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:58PM (#9688586) Journal
  • by frank249 ( 100528 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @02:00PM (#9688617)
    Last fall I received an email from a Nigerian who identified himself as a psychologist and was interested in obtaining some stress management materials I referenced on my website. As soon as I read it I thought to myself that this was going to be the start of a 419 scam. I almost ignored it but then thought that I would play along. I told him that to mail the materials I would need $15US to cover the postage and to my surprise a couple weeks later a cheque arrived. I was sure it was going to bounce but when it didn't, I sent him what he asked for. The moral is that Nigeria is a big country and not everyone there is trying to run a scam.
    • by cherokee158 ( 701472 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @02:21PM (#9688870)
      That's true, but Nigeria is alsoa country where people will deliberately block your car while a grease monkey crawls under it and wrecks your transmission...coincidently just a block down the street from a repair shop. (Source: The World's Most Dangerous Places)

      Nigeria is a cesspool of lawlessness and violence. Stereotyping isn't always fair, but it may just save your life.
  • by bfg9000 ( 726447 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @02:02PM (#9688636) Homepage Journal
    If I were this guy, I'd forget about the spammers -- I'd be more worried about his involvement at the Church of the Painted Breast. I just asked my Most Holy Pastor here at the Church of Scientology, and he told me the Painted Breasters are a scam and just a "stupid made up religion to scam the weakminded out of their money". And my pastor isn't lying -- in fact, he *can't* lie, even if he wanted to. He cast out the demons of lying when that exorcism went on sale last fall. I wish I had the $23,500 required; all I had was $15,000, so I just exorcised the demons of disobedience and free thought.
  • by LordKaT ( 619540 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @02:03PM (#9688646) Homepage Journal
    Jesus guys, we JUST got his by the BBC flood of users not a few hours ago, and now you're slashdotting the site?

    C'mon guys, a server can only take so much abuse.

  • by Dimensio ( 311070 ) <darkstar.iglou@com> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @02:16PM (#9688786)
    ...wasn't even intentional. Guy asked a scammer to pose for a photo holding a sign with a company logo.

    Scammer didn't exactly pose with a sign. Scammer did something else, something that no one expected, and that now has the baiter being revered by other baiters as a god (this is not my work, I really envy this guy);

    Behold [].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @02:26PM (#9688929)
    419 flashmob []
  • by Gudlyf ( 544445 ) <> on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @02:38PM (#9689105) Homepage Journal
    "Joe already knew from Hector's increasingly eccentric e-mails that he had put the money into a business exporting snow to Siberia."

    That is purely classic.

  • Would it be possible to crate a script for writing auto replies to the scammers? You know, the one which says:

    Dear ,

    I am very interested in doing business with you. Can you send me more details?

    So that scammers waste their time on trying to write replies and at least lose some of their time?
  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @04:06PM (#9690215) Journal
    As someone noted eariler, these kinds of 2x matrices are extremely limiting in that they don't allow other possiblities. not only is that true for the realm of the possiblities that avail the dimension that the considered problem exists on, but 2x matrices also evacuate the possibility of other dimensions.

    Not only do fators for consideration work on the plane of a decision matrix, but the universe is sufficiently sadistic as to insist on things coming out of nowhere to provide a level of complexity that presently exceeds human understanding. This variability scales down, and that's why things don't always go as planned.

    People who buy these kinds of books are simply lackingthe level of imagination necessary to avoid getting caught in some corporate peter principle, and want quick answers as to how they can out-edge or out-compete their rivals.

    What the 2x matrix world view, in present contexts, fails to understand is that the challenges ahead are not of competition but of co-operation - not unipolar dominance but multipolar consensus - not an overpopulated mass of hungry people, but a vastly depopulated technologically productive species exploring the universe. There is nothing matrical about that - the vision is completely wrong and off - we need more nuanced and complex decisions aided by a technical offloading of horsepower to machines, not simpler faster ones based on the quarterly bottom line...


  • The funny thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dark Bard ( 627623 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @04:41PM (#9690596)
    The most interesting thing to me is none of the law enforcement agencies were interested in their information. Given the face this guy was stupid enough to send $80 the photo could have been of an actual scammer. The joke is law enforcement would be more likely to go after him for the $80 reverse scam than that didn't benefit him than the real thief that is stealing 18 grand a shot. I realize there is little they can do from England and the United States to a Nigeran scammer. Given the millions involved there should be pressure on Nigeria to prosecute these men. It may be bringing in millions to the local economy but the threat of a trade embargo from the US and Europe would scare them and could have an effect. Trust me, if Enron was being scammed out of hundreds of millions of dollars the government would be all over it. The fact it's mostly retired people and people who are stupid or desperate the government could care less.
  • Clean hands (Score:5, Informative)

    by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @06:59PM (#9691802) Journal
    For all the folks that are wondering aloud about whether or not the scambaiters are vulnerable to a lawsuit for taking the scammers' $80, you can rest easy.

    A court will not award damages to a party that has 'unclean hands'. The scammers are attempting to negotiate a contract by which they have no itention of abiding--indeed, by which they cannot abide (they don't have eighteen billion dollars, now do they?)--and which would be illegal even if they could carry through their promises. Loosely speaking, the terms: Scammer gives Baiter $80, Baiter gives Scammer $18000, Scammer gives Baiter $millions.

    Consequently, the doctrine of clean hands (Link [], Link []) would tend to preclude successful legal action by the scammers. No court would enforce the contract, and trying to get the original $80 back would expose the scammer to far more costs and probably criminal prosecution.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington