:: Stringing-along 419 scammers for my amusement ::

HomeThe GamesFailed GamesTestimonialsScambaiting Tips and ResourcesLinks


About 419 Scams



The Nigerian 419 advance fee scam, known simply as 419 (four-one-nine) is named after section 419 of the Nigerian penal code. Although mostly Nigerian in origin, it is quite common to find many of these scams coming from many other countries, both within and outside Africa. Spain and Netherlands have more than their share of 419 scammers, probably due to the lack of political will to go after them. Canada has relatively few of these scammers but they operate from there with impunity because of the Canadian justice system's reluctance to procecute any kind of criminal.

There are a great many variations of the internet scam. In addition, these scammers are coming up with new and alternative ways to get something from the unsuspecting victim.

Below are some of the more popular scams you might come across on the internet.


Dead Dictator/Foreigner/Business Owner/Relative, Dying Widow/Merchant, Over Invoicing, etc. Scam

This is the traditional 419 scam. It is the most recognized type of 419 scam and is also the most popular.

Usually, you are contacted via e-mail, fax or regular snail mail by someone you don't know offering a portion of a large amount of money (usually 10%-50%) in exchange for your assitance (often the temporary use of your bank account) in gettng the money out of its present location and into "your country". Sometimes it's a wealthy widow or businessman who claims to be dying and wants you to make certain that their money is given to charity.

Of course, nothing is that simple. There are always made-up fees that have to be paid in advance before the money (which doesn't exist in the first place) can be released. Examples


Lottery/Grant Scam

This one almost always arrives by e-mail and is becoming extremely popular.

Basically, you are contacted by someone who claims to represent a lottery telling you that you've won a large amount of money (in dollars, euros, pounds, or whatever). Like the traditional scam, there is no prize money but there are always silly fees to be paid before you can receive your winnngs.

Many of the lottery names are made up. The Microsoft Word Lottery, The Yahoo Messenger Lottery, and The Windows Vista Lottery are just a few of the lotteries that the scammers invent but, just as often, they claim to be from real lotteries, providing web links to "back" up their story.

One thing to always keep in mind is that no one gets notified via e-mail by a real lottery that they've won and no one wins a lottery for which they've never bought a ticket. Examples


Job Offer Scam

Usually arrives via e-mail, this type of scam is very successful and would be far more popular if the scammers could afford the cost of good-quality fake checks. The prospective employer could be just about anyone real or fictitious. Some very common ones used by the scammers are Sino Steel and Susan's Art World. Sometimes the scammer claims to be an African model who had had modeling jobs for which she had been paid with checks drawn on an American or European based bank. In any scenario, the person/firm has trouble cashing these checks and is ostensibly looking for someone to cash them in exchange for a certain percentage.

The way the scam works is that the scammer offers you a job as a "company representative" or something similar, or, the scammer tells you that he/she has trouble cashing checks from the US/Canada and/or Europe. Your job is to cash the checks for him/her in exchange for a percentage (usually 5%-10%) of the value of the check.

These checks are always either complete forgeries or stolen checks which have been altered. In either case, the check is worthless. You are asked by the scammer to cash the check(s), keep your alloted percentage for yourself and wire the remainder back to the scammer immediately.

When your bank eventually finds out that the check you cashed/deposited is worthless, you will be held responsible for covering the value of the check.

Another popular Job Offer Scam advertises some sort of attractive service job in a foreign country, usually in a hotel or on a cruise ship. instead of cashing fake checks, the victim (job applicant) is asked to send money to pay for their visas, etc. Examples


Gold/Diamonds for sale

For some reason, these e-mails seem to come primarily from Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire They always follow a similar theme. The scammer contacts you offering diamonds, gold bullion, or gold dust for sale. Of course, he wants payment before shipping the goods (which don't exist). Examples


Item/service purchaser/renter scam

This one has much in common with the Job Offer Scam (above) but the premise is entirely different.

The potential victim of this type of scam is often someone who has offered something for sale or rent, often on eBay or CraigsList. Sometimes the victim will get a response by telephone from someone who has seen an advertisement in the classified ad secion of a newspaper.

In the case of someone who has an item for sale, the scammer will express a desire to purchase the item for the asking price (or more) and offers to pay for the item by check, the amount of which far exceeds the purchase price of the item. Often the victim has an apartment, flat, or house for rent and the scammer wants to pay the security deposit and/or "1st and last month's rent" via this method. The scammer then requests that the seller wire the difference back via Western Union or Moneygram.

As you would expect, the check(s) they send are worthless.


Internet Romance Scams/Pen Pal Scams

There are many variations of this type of scam but they all have one thing in common: The scammer always tries to develop a very personal and trusting long-term relationship with the victim over the internet. This relationship is often, but not always romantic. They like to use instant messaging to communicate.

Often the scammers will ask their victims to cash (fake) checks for them.

In one variation, the scammer will use the victim's address as a drop for expensive items purchased online with stolen credit card numbers. These items will start showing up at the victim's home. The scammer will then ask that the victim ship these items to him/her.

The scammers in this type of scam are very patient. They have been known to cultivate their relationship with their victim over a long period of time, sometimes more than a year.

You can usually meet these scammers at social websites. MySpace.com and most dating websites are overflowing with these scammers. Examples


Loan Scams

Websites offerng free or inexpensive advertising have long been havens for loan scammers. E-mail is also becomng a popular medium for these scammers to find victms.

The scam is a classic advance fee fraud. The victim is always approved for a loan with these fake lenders but, as you would expect, there are various "fees" which must be paid before the victim is to receive any money.

There's a dangerous twist with this kind of scam. The fake lender will ask the victim for all sorts of personal information that would normally be required by a lending institution. Thus, the victim of this scam can lose money and become a prime candidate for identity theft. Examples


Charity scams

Most often used by scammers following a tragic disaster but used other times as well. The scammers contact their victims by phone and/or e-mail posing as a charity collecting relief money. These scams were especially popular in the aftermath of The Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004), the London 7/7 terrorist attacks (2005), and Hurricane Katrina (2005).

Occasionally, these scammers make it clear that they are simply bumming money for themselves. Examples



Home | Games | Failed Games | Testimonials | About 419 Scams | Scambaiting Resources | Links

BaiterBlog | coming soon