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Microsoft Helping Nigeria Fight Scammers 158

encodics writes " is carrying a story today about how Nigeria is asking Microsoft for help in fighting scammers." From the article: "Microsoft will provide technical expertise, training and other security resources to Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is tasked with fighting cybercrime in the country. Nigeria was initially slow to respond to the problem of '419' e-mail scammers operating in the country, who were duping unsuspecting Internet users out of thousands of pounds by promising a share of the secret multimillion-pound fortune of a deposed African dictator. "
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Microsoft Helping Nigeria Fight Scammers

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  • Allow me to introduce myself. I am Matubu Huntu Smith, my father was the head of "Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission" until his untimely death. I am writing to implore you to assist me getting a large sum of money out of my country. We will need much security help to accomplish this and I am repaired to compensate you at a rate of 52% of the nearly twenty two million dollars my father was able to secure before his death.....
  • by Humba ( 112745 ) * on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:17PM (#13792837)
    Chairman tender
    Board of nigerian
    National petroleum
    Coporation (n.n.p.c)


    I guess this letter may come to you as a surprise since i had no
    Previous Correspondence with you. I am the chairman tender board of nigeria National Petroleum coporation (nnpc) i got your contact in the course of my Search For a reliable person with whom to handle a very confidential Transaction Involving the transfer of fund valued eight million two hundred Thousand United states dollars ($8.2m) to a safe foreign account.

    The above fund in question is not connected with arms, drugs or money
    Laundering. It is the product of over invoice on contract awarded in
    2005 by nnpc, to Microsoft for providing technical expertise, training and other security resources to Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is tasked with fighting cybercrime in the country. The
    Contract has long been executed and payment of the actual contract
    Amount Made to the foreign contractor leaving the balance of $8.2m u.s
    Dollars in A dormant account which my colleagues and i now want to transfer out of Nigeria into a reliable foreign account for our personal use.

  • How many people have actually fallen for these scams? Are there statistics?
  • by SysKoll ( 48967 ) on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:21PM (#13792872)
    thousands of pounds by promising a share of the secret multimillion-pound fortune of a deposed African dictator.

    Thousands? Only thousands? What a rip-off. My deposed dictator offered me $350 millions for only $500 of participation.

  • Damn I was too slow. I thought I had it all.

    ok, blast me now for off topic so I can go home.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:22PM (#13792879)
    asking McDonalds to solve a food shortage problem in Africa.

    • That's not such a bad idea actually. Most McDonald's foods have a very high calorie/weight and calorie/volume ratio. While producing meat is not extremely efficient energy wise, the shipping would be much cheaper. McDonald's also has years of experience in distributing food as cheaply as possible. It would only take a couple of menu items to provide sustenance. The average value meal contains more calories than the average Cuban eats in a day, and Cuba isn't anywhere near as bad off as most parts of Af
      • While producing meat is not extremely efficient energy wise

        I don't know, it seems pretty energy efficient to me.

        1. Get cow
        2. Put cow in rough pasture
        3. Wait until cow is bigger
        4. Profit!

        Of course if you do stupid stuff like pump cows full of drugs so they can digest whole grain (hint - they're ruminants, they're good at foliage, not cereals) then I suppose it is less efficient.
        • You forgot the part about needing a chainsaw.

          You know. To kill the cow.
        • Not to mention deforestation so they have somewhere to put cows []. Y'know, until the ground becomes unusable because it no longer has forest to protect it from the weather.

          The big efficiency issue with cows, however, is people putting them on land that would be fine for growing more or less anything directly consumable by humans, which happens a lot more due to the increased demand for meat, because everyone seems to have this belief it's a good idea to eat lots of it. Actual recommended daily intake of meat
          • Yes, but there are lots of bits of the world where you *can't* grow crops. Most of North-West Scotland (where I live), for example. It's too hilly and wet. About all that does grow is heather and tough grass, which humans - not being ruminants - can't eat. Cows and sheep can, though. A cow is a really good way of making heather and grass edible.
    • No, this is almost like asking SPAM [] to solve the food shortage in Africa.
    • Yeah, McDonalds sent the Africans 100,000 straws with the food.

      The Africans sent a letter back saying "thanks for the leg warmers!"

      *runs away*
  • Nigeria is a nice country. Be a shame if anything happened [] to it.

    Fox, meet henhouse. Keep an eye on it, will ya?

    - Bill
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:23PM (#13792893)
    In hopes that they will use it, significantly slowing down their ability to manage their ill-gotten gains.
  • Helping... (Score:3, Funny)

    by b1gk1tty ( 670514 ) on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:23PM (#13792898)
    Doesn't seem to me that Nigeria needs help from M$ to scam Americans... Although MS has been doing it a lot longer...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Those unsuspecting internet users were basically robbed while attempting to commit a crime, were they not?

    Everyone who got dupped should be procecuted for thier crimes not smothered with pity.

    • I personally believe that calling someone a "419" should now be as commonplace as moron, idiot, mouth-breather, imbicile, fucktard, speedy, stupid, or pedro.


      yep, pedro... (sorry, had a varsity blues moment there).

      Oh, and they should be fined an amount equivalent to the rest of their bank account.
  • a share of the secret multimillion-pound fortune of a deposed African dictator.

    where can i apply for my share in tihs secret fortune?? it sounds superk00l!! FREE GMAIL invites to all teh PEEPZ who answer my q!!!111!!1

  • Dictator? She told me she was an african princess! I feel so used...
  • duping unsuspecting Internet users out of thousands of pounds

    Here in America we call this "The Biggest Loser", and the producers of this show are raking it in!! People are losing pounds left and right without the Sultan of UmmPapaMowMow...

  • I recently got my first Nigerian scam emails ever in my GMail account recently. I saved it, because it amused me. How it managed to get there is unamusing, but at least it was autofiltered to spam.

    On the topic of amusing spam, has anyone ever gotten Hare Krishna spam? I did, once. I actually did some Google'rch to figure out what the hell it was. I kept it, too, because it makes me happy (coincidentally) for no apparent reason:

    From: Neateye Reply-To: Neateye To: --------------------- Date: May 6,

    • GAHHH! I hit submit instead of preview. Here's a fixed format on that email, SORRY EVERYONE. On an unrelated note, anyone have any idea why the pre tag isn't allowable HTML for comments?

      From: Neateye
      Reply-To: Neateye
      To: ---
      Date: May 6, 2005 2:13 AM
      Subject: Gouranga

      Call out Gouranga be happy!!!
      Gouranga Gouranga Gouranga ....
      That which brings the highest happiness!!
    • Yeah, I got that once... Funny, the only time I'd ever seen it was in my GMail acount.
    • My email address is aliased from root, admin, administrator, postmaster, ldap, apache, etc on about 7 different domains...
  • Does this mean they'll have to forfeit their Ig Nobel []?
    • Does this mean they'll have to forfeit their Ig Nobel?

      My goodness, the two aren't even remotely related. The poor country finally has some good press and you come and associate it with the scammers. Tsk, tsk!
  • Where does the money they confiscate from them go? Isn't it enough to buy the technology to fight them?
  • by kulakovich ( 580584 ) <> on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:31PM (#13792968)
    1835 73rd Ave NE
    Medina, WA 98039

    Dear President Obasanjo,

    My name is WILLIAM HENRY GATES III, and I am President of the Microsoft Corporation...
  • by Yonder Way ( 603108 ) on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:35PM (#13792987)
    Nigeria was initially slow to respond to the problem of '419' e-mail scammers operating in the country, who were duping unsuspecting Internet users out of thousands of pounds by promising a share of the secret multimillion-pound fortune of a deposed African dictator.

    At least they are combating the obesity epidemic.
  • by pmike_bauer ( 763028 ) on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:35PM (#13792991)
    On a related note check out today's foxtrot comic [].
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Dear Nigerian Scammers,

    It has come to our attention that you are using Linux machines to send emails to all your "investors". You may or may not have heard, but Linux is completely unstable and prone to frequent crashing, bad drivers, and general malaise. I would like to propose an initial offering of 100 copies of our much superior OS. If you can provide your bank account routing numbers, we would be happy to draft your account for each copy of the OS, as well as each time we need to upgrade it, to th

  • Nigeria should tread carefully with Microsoft. Otherwise, they (Nigerians) will be locked into Microsoft's proprietary hold - for good!

    On the other hand, I suppose if Nigeria wanted to fight these scammers, they would have used a fraction of their oil profits to hire some OSS developers who I strongly believe, would deliver strong software and technical advice to fight these scammers.

  • "Microsoft will provide technical expertise, training and other security resources to Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is tasked with fighting cybercrime in the country"

    Microsoft security resources and 419 email scammers go together.

    Try, try, try to separate them
    It's an illusion
    Try, try, try, and you will only come
    To this conclusion

    Love and marriage, 419 scammers and MS security
    Go together like a horse and carriage



    I am OLUSEGUN OBASANJO, the current president of Nigeria, a country in West Africa. I have been referred
    to you after Conducting Enquiries, and I hope you treat this contact as a sincere and confidential message
    from a friend. Contacts through the Internet have become difficult, with many scammers and tricky boys.

    It recently came to my notice that my predecessor, General SANI ABACHA, who is still in good heart and
    health, despite my daily visit
  • These scams apparently work, otherwise they would be dead by now. The sad thing is that anyone in the West would be so greedy as to help some stranger transfer millions of dollars out of a cash-poor country such as Nigeria or Uganda.
    • Interesting. I never thought about it that way. Puts the victims in a new light. And if someone were trying to funnel millions out of Germany or France the recipient of the email would probably call the authorities.

      I also like how these scams take advantage of peoples' amazing ignorance of current events in African countries.
  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) on Friday October 14, 2005 @03:44PM (#13793046) []

    Has info about scambaiters, kind of a funny effort. But the question must be asked, do 2 wrongs make a right?
    article links from last year: m [] 2255&tid=133&tid=111 []
  • huh? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I work for the Microsoft.

    So I am really getting a kick out of most of these replies.

    Some of you guys are very good at making it sound like you know what you are talking about.

    But trust me.... You don't.

    I think you just want to make yourself sound smart, when in reality you dont know what you are talking about.

    This is how bad info gets passed around.

    If you dont know about the topic....Dont make yourself sound like you do.

    Cuz some /.'ers belive anything they hear.
    • What's funny is you can post this to any article on Microsoft, and it will be fully accurate and modded up as insightful. You can also replace Microsoft with something on topic in the article, and you have a reply that works anywhere
    • Re:huh? (Score:3, Funny)

      by swimmar132 ( 302744 )
      I see you work for the Microsoft. How's work at the Microsoft? Are you enjoying being part of the Microsoft?
    • I work for the Microsoft.

      the Microsoft?!!
      My God! You really call it that?!
    • At







    • I was thinking about quoting some priceless snippets out of your posts, but decided I would had to quote all of it to give it justice. OTOH, You (the reader) can hit the parent button to figure out the context.

      Anyway. Now even the standard monkeys are fleeing microsoft? Now they have to hire uneducated, illiterate, incoherent monkeys out of THE zoo?
      (Yeah, I'm drunk and nasty as per usual when posting.)
  • They pitched in so well that I'm still getting these scams with MSN email addresses, just finished deleting one from

    Don't buy it for a minute.

  • Who needs to pay $1000 or $500. I'm getting $20 million from a Ugandan for $350 [].

    Some things are just so topical.

  • I dunno who is ripping who off here? WTF does MS care about it? Naff all, the same they care about any other spammer (unless, of course, the world adopts _their_ closed source, licensed, and patented anti-spam design, designed to run the internet mail base).
  • You mean the Nigerian scams are ACTUALLY coming from Nigeria? I thought the whole thing was completely made up buy some losers in Florida or something. Well, it is good to know that the scammers were at least honest about their nationality. Go figure.

    • I had thought the same understanding was that Nigeria was a front for organized crime from around the world. Nigeria themselves just plays a part as a remote location with little protection should one be stupid enough to travel there to "collect" the carrot being dangled in front of them -- sort of like, "Now, that you're here, good luck getting out. But I can help you for, say, the sum of $10,000..."

    • Fraud and corruption are huge problems in Nigeria. Organized crime is rampant and has been exported to many other countries via Nigerian emigres. Not all Nigerians are crooks, but enough are to ruin the country's reputation. See m.htm [].
    • Nigeria-originated spam is just a contemporary version of the decades old 419 scams [] that apparently netted US$ 5 billion [] way back in 1996 itself.
  • ask a scammer to stop another scammer...
  • i mean, anyone who thinks this is legit is too stupid to have the money they are going to lose in the first place. when will people figure out that getting rich is not as easy as responding to an email.
  • Just give them free versions of Windows. They'll be so inundated by viruses and IE exploits that their computers will be rendered unusable and thus they won't be spamming anymore!
    Why didn't anyone think of this before?!
  • I came across this on a forum dedicated to exposing 419 scams a few months back, and though it's not one of those emails promising riches (it's an eBay scam), it's still relevant. It's extremely funny, but it also shows the lengths to which they will go to get your money, including threats. t=109 []
  • If they succeed, I'll sure miss the lads of lagos []. But this might also mean that nigerian scam could be distributed through Windows Update!1
  • Dear Nigerian resident,

    Request for urgent business relationship!

    I am a top official at a major American software manufacturer who is interested in exportation of our goods into your fine country. We need to move several shiploads of our product into your nation, and are willing to cut you a generous percentage of the profits. Please respond as soon as possible.

    You bestest pal,
    Billy Gates

    And so on...

    Not sure when my citizenship switched to Nigera.

    Probably the same night I got that tattoo.

    On my ass.

  • by WoodstockJeff ( 568111 ) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:02PM (#13793261) Homepage
    ... because most of the ones we've received in the past few months are sent by MSN/HOTMAIL users. While many actually used MSN.COM or HOTMAIL.COM accounts, Microsoft has a few hundred "vanity domains", for which there is no accountability whatsoever - attempts to report the spam get bounced, because there is no "abuse@" for these domains, and will only accept reports of accounts, just as will only accept them for accounts.

    It's a nifty little scheme - use one of the vanity domains, and you can send spam for months. The mail is delivered through HOTMAIL.COM servers, so blocking by IP doesn't work. Unless, of course, you are willing to take the colateral damage of blocking all HOTMAIL and MSN customers.

    Which, it turns out, might not be much real damage at all...

    • While many actually used MSN.COM or HOTMAIL.COM accounts, Microsoft has a few hundred "vanity domains", for which there is no accountability whatsoever

      Got a list?
    • but wait! it gets even better.

      microsoft is running a SPAMFILTER on their account!

      that's right. if your complaint isn't bounced with:

      Unfortunately, we cannot take action on the mail you sent us because it does not reference a Hotmail account.

      then your complaints get bounced with:

      ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
      (reason: 550 5.7.1 <Your e-mail was rejected by an anti-spam content filter on gateway

      • abuse e-mail addresses get a huge amount of spam, because they are easily discovered or guessed. Ours gets about a 1000:1 ratio of spam to real e-mail, not running a spam filter really isn't an option.

        The only one that is worse is support@ :)

  • No wonder Microsoft has such bad security if they believe scams like this...

    Then again, maybe they're finally running out of FUD and need more money to buy some from the GOP...

  • When does scamming have to do with Microsoft Windows XP?
  • About 40% of the Nigerian scam emails that get past my greylists (but usually not Spam Assassin) go through Hotmail. If Microsoft is going to help Nigeria filter this at the source, then they should start with their own email service. I hardly see any scam email coming from either Yahoo! or GMail.
  • by hanshotfirst ( 851936 ) on Friday October 14, 2005 @04:45PM (#13793696)
    I'll bet the Nigerians heard about that Email Tracking Program [] Bill tested a few years ago. That would be really helpful in seeing who spammed and who got spammed along the way!
  • In a related story, Microsoft today announced it has installed a 150 meter tall version of Clippy, which can now be seen hovering over south-east Nigeria. No word yet if it is actually assisting with anti-spam efforts or continuing to ask "Can I help you make an outline?"
  • Duh! I would have thought MS would have been smarter than to fall for this. I mean if it only took me 2 times to realize a Nigerian price really doesn't get my money, then for sure the MS company should get it the first time...
  • Microsoft advising Nigeria on security? ... Forgive them father for they know what they do.
  • Email scam isn't the only way it's being done in that area.

    Phone scammers use the system intended for the hearing impaired to add a layer between them and the credit card scams they attempt, to the point where if you sell something to someone using the internet relay, you are a complete fool. A huge percentage of the calls on this system are scammers now, and the companies that provide the service don't wish to fight it, since they are paid by volume of calls!

    • Oh yeah. I worked for a while as an IP relay operator. "Our friends from Nigeria" were for real -- I was complicit in the execution of thousands of dollars of fraud using stolen credit card numbers. My employer -- now known as Verizon -- actually had implemented an anti-fraud policy that enabled our supervisors to inform the call recipient that (paraphrasing) "management believes this call is of a fraudulent nature" and gave them the option to hang up. Most did, wisely, although at least one I handled conti
  • anyone who fell pray to this scam is stupid. they ALMOST deserve what they got. I'd also like their names and numbers, because I have a "bridge" to sell them. If they aren't interested, I have an operating system that is completely secure and never crashes, only $99.99.
  • Nigeria is actually involved in Nigerian 409's? I just assumed it was domestic or European scammers, but I suppose that was shortsighted.
  • I don't have a link handy but these scams constitute a significant percentage of Nigeria's economy (I've heard estimates of 10%), so I'm not sure they should really be interested in curtailing it.
  • Because that's pretty much all that MS can do.
  • Here are a few sample letters from my harvesting mailbox (All original live letters untouched and unedited):

    "Dear Sir/Madam

    I am an Industrialist and exporter based in China. I established a company named--CHANGZHOU WENDI MANUFACTURING COMPANY LTD in the year 1994. The company principally produces and exports raw materials such as Calcite, Barytes, Manganese Dioxide, Mica, China Clay and Ferrous (Iron) Oxide.
    My company's Export market is fast expanding. Owing to our determined efforts to increase the mar

  • It's hard not to roar with laughter. The United States is the worst spam offender in the world, and the nabobs of spam can even enjoy promotional photos of themselves on places like Spamhaus. Such a high-pressure life style, knocking out a few million spams in betwen ambling down to the auto showroon to play around with another Mercedes or Porsche. Compared to drug-dealing and extortion, which is probably what these guys would be doing otherwise, it must be a no-brainer.

    I guess tacking the problem closer
  • Oh Microsoft , Thankyou - for being so nice. I worship you now - im going to format all my linux boxes and install Windows, im so touched by this that rather than download cracked versions of windows im actually going to purchase legitimate copies of your operating system and spread it all over my Linux boxes. I apologise for misinterpreting your organisation as being evil or monopolistic and constituting all that i despise - forgive me ! . Now that I have RTFA I have changed my religion - wow you are so go
  • As much as I despise those scammers, I have to admit that they are creative in a weird source of way.

    I get the classic ones (African dictator/official dies and widow/son wants his money transferred for a hefty share).

    But I also get ones that have a Christian theme [], others with an Islamic tone [], and yet another with an Arab tone [] featuring Yasser Arafat, with links to news articles from ABC News, just after he died.

    These guys could use their imagination writing fiction or something. If they had better E

I owe the public nothing. -- J.P. Morgan