In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

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The 411 on 419

Ever wonder who in their right mind could actually fall for the Nigerian 419 scam? That's the crap we get in our spam boxes every day where someone from the middle of africa somewhere claims to have millions of dollars stashed away and all they need is someone from abroad to help them move the cash out. There are many different permutations of the scam, but they always offer a 30% cut of some ludicrously high amount of money in exchange for this help that usually involves the person paying some upfront costs. It sounds absolutely ridiculous and you just can't quite figure out who would actually believe such a thing.

Welp, The New Yorker has an article on one person who did fall for it, and fall hard. The story documents the entire escapade and included a lot of interesting tidbits about the nuts and bolts of the scam past the initial phase we're all familiar with. In the end, his involvement got him 2 years in jail, lost him 80,000 dollars out of pocket and charged to pay restitution in a further 600,000.

What was sort of amazing to me is how apparently easy it was for these scammers to fake and alter checks that would then get cashed. I'd like to believe that I would never buy this sort of thing, but it might be different if someone sent me a check for some large amount of cash and it actually cleared the bank. You just assume that crap like that has already passed some pretty extreme amount of scrutiny. It's easy to see how even a mildly credulous person could get tangled up when they actually have cash to show for it. Well, before the house of cards all come crumbling down anyway.

I know I'm usually the first to suggest immolation as an answer to intractable problems, but I'm thinking that maybe we should divert a few B2 bombers from Iraq and consider carpet bombing Festac Town for a day or two. Those fuckers have it coming.
Tags: crime/law, news

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