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The 419eater Community Pulls Some Legs 219

Posted by timothy
from the no-really-send-me-the-money dept.
trusteR writes "Always in the pursuit to rid the world of 419 scams with new and often very entertaining strategies, the class of 419eater.com have set new records in making scambaiting an entertaining and funny artform. Shipping ANUS laptops, $$$, Death treats, Audio and lots of pictures." This beats the amusement value of a Captain Kirk passport; the scam-baiters here managed to get cash in the mail and get rid of some less-than-perfect hardware.
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The 419eater Community Pulls Some Legs

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  • Worse than 419 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fembots (753724) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:52PM (#10644432) Homepage
    If I read the article (or discussion rather) correctly, this guy is conning a 419-guy from "LAGOS" into paying $200 cash + $4500 cheque for "large boxes of misc garbage with a broken laptop that has "ANUS" inscribed on the screen".

    I hope the cheque bounced, if this guy did cash in the cheque, wouldn't he be in more trouble? ie receiving the money but providing bogus goods?

    If the cheque didn't go through, this guy still can't touch that $200 cash, because there might be some 'misunderstanding' (well that's what the 419-guy will say in court). So this $200 must be held until the cheque is made and cashed (or cash be returned if the transaction cannot be completed).
    • Re:Worse than 419 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:58PM (#10644513)
      "I hope the cheque bounced, if this guy did cash in the cheque, wouldn't he be in more trouble? ie receiving the money but providing bogus goods?"

      Not realy, for the same reason that fraud is aparintly legal in the countries where most of these 419 scams. If the local government isn't doing anything to stop the 419ers because (as they claim) they can't then complain about this "turn about is fair play" stuff. I guess the 419er COULD try and press charges in the US (that would be funny) but so long as the guy sends the box o' stuff via UPS rather then USPS no mail fraud has taken place.

      That having been said, I think all parties in this are jerks.

      • Re:Worse than 419 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jucius Maximus (229128) <zyrbmf5j4x@snRED ... com minus distro> on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:13PM (#10644682) Homepage Journal
        "Not realy, for the same reason that fraud is aparintly legal in the countries where most of these 419 scams."

        Are you aware that the name "419 Scams" comes from section section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code, which is used to prosecute these guys?

        • Yup, and the problem with that code is that it requires the money to change hands and for the victim to complain. There is no law against the scam itself, often by the time the money is transfered the scammer is long gona (given a pile of cash would YOU stay in Nigeria?).
        • Re:Worse than 419 (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DeepHurtn! (773713)
          If the Nigerian government actually prosecuted scammers, 419er would have no reason to exist. The Nigerian government is incredibly corrupt, and actual prosecutions under the 419 code are almost non-existant. If you report a scam, all that is likely to happen is that the the police will try to hit the scammers up for a cut.
          • Re:Worse than 419 (Score:3, Interesting)

            by arivanov (12034)
            That is besides the fact that not a lot of the scams are run from Nigeria. At one point it was mostly dutch cable networks. After an unsuccessful prosecution attempt about a year ago the police there started to extradit them on the spot. As a result they moved to Tiscali network in the UK where they thrive and florish. In either case it is not Nigeria.
            • Re:Worse than 419 (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward
              Not quite correct. Most of the 419 emails in my harvester accounts come from Nigeria, Ivory Coast or Benin. I usually do an IP check.

              Lottery scams usually come from Holland.

              Tiscali is used as they offer free email accounts.
    • I guess I could write a diatribe about how vigilante justice doesn't solve anything, but I won't.

      These FUCKERS deserve everything they've got coming to them. In my eyes they occupy the same rung on the internet food chain ladder as spammers, 2nd world extorionists and those people who create those fake popus telling you machine has a virus, but when clicked on attempt to install CWS...
      • How would you know what happens when you click on that?
        • I know this puts me in the minority of slashdot linux zealots, but I actually use linux. Hence clicking on those banners does me no harm.
          One day, I clicked on one just to see what would happen and Mozilla popped up a download dialog for some windows executable with a name like "Quick Web Searcher.exe". Needless to say, I smugly chuckled and then realized that more than likely this was probably installed on several of my realatives PC's... And that It would be me that would be reinstalling their systems.
      • These FUCKERS deserve everything they've got coming to them.

        Spam is annoying, but they wouldn't continue unless some people actually made it worthwhile for them to do so. I really have no sympathy whatsoever for anyone who is both stupid and greedy enough to fall for these scams. When people stop responding, the scams will stop.

    • If I read the article (or discussion rather) correctly, this guy is conning a 419-guy from "LAGOS" into paying $200 cash + $4500 cheque for "large boxes of misc garbage with a broken laptop that has "ANUS" inscribed on the screen".

      I think we just found out how to solve the broken/obsolete computer recycling problem. Send it ALL to the scammer(saying it is new hardwrae for your new business parnter), with them paying for shipping!
    • Re:Worse than 419 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WormholeFiend (674934)
      IMO any money scammed from scammers should go into a fund to raise awareness about these scams... or some other pertinent beneficial goal.
    • I hope the cheque bounced, if this guy did cash in the cheque, wouldn't he be in more trouble?

      theFAILURE already knew that the check was fake when he received it. He has no intention of attempting to cash it. He just decided to take a traditional check scammer for a ride.

      I'm attempting a little game with a check scammer, though nothing nearly as elaborate as the ANUS LAPTOP bait.
    • I was also thinking about trying to get into the scam-baiting hobby, but I haven't received any 419-scams lately (at least AFAIK from scanning subject lines when deleting spam), and I get loads of spam.

      I think there are so many people trying to scam the scammers, that they have given up. By now, I guess there are maybe 100 people trying to trick the 419-scammer into something for every idiot actually gullible enough to fall for them.

      419 is no longer profitable, I guess...

      • having my email on a number of highly visible web sites, I usually get around 20 419mails a week -- if anyone wants a copy of any of them, let me know -- I usually just forward them off to the authorities, although on occasion I've baited one (pretending to be another scammer working in the same area, using another name/email addy I know is used by the same scammer to get him scamming himself, pretending to be the local authorities looking for a bribe, etc.)
  • by Phixxr (794883) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:54PM (#10644458)
    Perhaps slashdot should change it's name to siteeater.com.

    -Phixxr

  • google cache (Score:5, Informative)

    by helfen (791121) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:54PM (#10644461)
  • by Thunderstruck (210399) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:56PM (#10644481)
    I wouldn't worry too much about some scammer from Lagos challenging the payment in a US court. Those who come to the courts with unclean hands seldom get any relief.

    Even if the scammer did arrive, how does one demonstrate that the goods shipped were not in fact what was ordered in such a way as to convice a court that your scamming activities are minor enough by comparison as to give you relief?

    • I wouldn't worry too much about some scammer from Lagos challenging the payment in a US court. Those who come to the courts with unclean hands seldom get any relief.


      Somehow the cynic in my brain (*) thinks of every time a company gets sued for violating the law, environmental considerations, or anti-trust issues they seem to get away.

      (*) No, really. It's an entirely separate cynic that lives in my brain. :-P

  • by liquidpele (663430) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:56PM (#10644492) Journal
    The Number One Rule: If you're every involved in something, and the other party has some crazy sense of urgency, there's a 95% posability it's a scam.

    Just as a for-instance I got a call from some free cruze company for instance. they said if I hung up, I couldn't get the deal back, I had to say yes during the conversation. My scumbag bells went off, and I looked it up online while talking to them, found a nice site detailing the extra $800 they charge you, and promptly told them to piss off and hung up.

  • by alarocca (683961) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:56PM (#10644496)
    hows about some 419maulers.com ... instead of simply making fun of the scammers, we should abuse them with medieval torture devices and post the pictures on the internet!
  • Oh No! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Blue-Footed Boobie (799209) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:57PM (#10644502)
    "Tragedy struck today as a group of "nerds" called the '419Eaters' were killed in, what is being described as, a classic Organized Crime killing. In other news, Britney Spe...."
  • Great Stuff (Score:5, Funny)

    by ravenspear (756059) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:58PM (#10644514)
    They got this one guy to send a pic of himself holding up a sign that said "I take it up the arse."

    i can't link it bc the site is /.
  • What are... (Score:4, Funny)

    by TechnoLust (528463) <kai.technolustNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:00PM (#10644530) Homepage Journal
    "death treats"?
  • by CheechBG (247105) * on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:02PM (#10644558) Homepage
    Servers just succumbed to the /.ing. From what I read, guy packed 200 pounds of dead hardware in boxes and made the guy pre-pay for shipping. He put a value on the packages for 9500 bucks, which means the poor scammer at the other end will have to pay import fees or something along those lines.

    Interesting note in the forum thread, for every 30lbs it is costing this guy $475. Funny stuff. He does have a picture of the 200 in cash.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:27PM (#10644846)
      Also since I frequent there, and since slashdot killed the site(thanks a lot trusteR!) here are some more details.

      The scammer was trying to do a fake check scam, where they send you a fake check to pay for the goods. These scams count on people depositing the check, and thinking that the check cleared. They also tend to send some amount over what you requested, with them asking you to send the remainder to someone else(which is usually them or someone affiliated in the scam). Then when the bank figures out the checks a fraud, the victim is missing the goods that the scammer "bought," and owes the bank what ever money they gave back to the scammers.

      The computers got the name Anus because the scammer called them that.

      To continue the story, the scammer issued a threat about not receiving the computers, and only getting junk. The scammer then send a DHL shipper to pick the "real"(still more junk) package up. At this stage the package is not traceable, something is up with DHL. Both the scambater and the scammer don't know what is up at this point.

      Also some of the scambaters found the place where the packages were being shipped to, and visited what appears to be someplace in the UK the scammers drop their ill-gotten goods off. They posed as inspectors, got pictures of the supposed scammer/scam helper, and took what appears to be pictures of some remains of the scammer/helper's other scams.

      So that is all that is known at this point, and they tend to be frequent on updates when info comes in. Due to the slashdotting I doubt they will be updating this as frequent.
      • I keep getting these emails offering me £300 or so a week for just a couple of hours work a week for being a "Junior Financial representative"... Here's the text from one:

        Dear United Kingdom resident,

        Our company "Zhuang Altern International" is located in South Korea (motherland for such brands as Samsung, Daewoo and others). Our company profile is law and economical services for Korean citizens wishing to operate at foreign markets. We help with financial and personal representation of our custom

  • by YetAnotherName (168064) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:09PM (#10644643) Homepage
    From the summary:

    ...Death treats...

    I just gotta get some of those! That'll take care of those pesky costumed kids with their shrill cries of "tricker-treat" about this time each year!
  • Eh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyoShin (610051) <[tukaro] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:10PM (#10644656) Homepage Journal
    While I don't mind a scammer getting karma-lized, I have to wonder about the whole procedure. Of course, the legality of the scammar isn't the question, but rather the legality of the counter-scammer. This sounds about the same as the P-p-powerbook (which I'm sure everyone remembers): Sending false goods, misappropiating funds, etc. However, for any charges to be pressed, it will have (had) to be intercepted by federal agents and seen for what it is, or the scammar will have to spill the beans. Both cases are very unlikely, so the counter-scammar is probably safe.

    However, I suggest against going this far in the future. Keeping the guy going with fake e-mails is probably fine and well, but when you start with the exchange of funds or goods (sic), where is the line drawn that the counter-scammer doesn't become a scammer himself?
    • Re:Eh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ravenspear (756059) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:25PM (#10644827)
      where is the line drawn that the counter-scammer doesn't become a scammer himself?

      Obviously he is a scammer himself. But that is the whole point. The people doing this wouldn't consider it wrong becasue they are not scamming innocents, but rather those who would scam innocents. Whether that argument is valid is more of a personal opinion. This is just a new form of vigilante justice which has always been a topic of disagreement. If I knew you were going to kill me tomorrow would I be justified in killing you today?
      • by RyoShin (610051)
        If I knew you were going to kill me tomorrow would I be justified in killing you today?

        Looking at it from a legal perspective, if there was nothing else you could to stop me, then you could kill me with little to no negative effects upon yourself. If there was something else, such as contacting the police, you could possibly be tried for murder or manslaughter.

        From that viewpoint, the counter-scammer in this case knew he was being scammed, and to stop the scamming to happen all he had to do was ignore th
      • Once you step outside the law you step outside the law.

        You are basically saying the law doesn't apply to you (in this situation, defaulting on taxes or killing someone puts you farther outside).

        That being said the person did come up with what was asked for, if someone wanted a job done and you did it to their satisfaction you should be paid.

        This guy taught this kid that he will be scammed even when he tries to enter society, which isn't really something we should be teaching people.
    • It doesn't look like the baiter is going to keep the money. Instead, he has used the money as bait to get the scammer to initiate a UPS request for that will result in a heavy box being shipped internationally, at which point the scammer will have a large shipping bill to pay. I bet he'll have the money in the box as well. Charges for a heavy box can run quite high.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:11PM (#10644657)
  • by shoppa (464619) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:14PM (#10644700)
    The Kirk passport is hilarious, but I doubt the FBI would look kindly on a USAian forging documents and sending them (selling them?) overseas, no matter how ludicrous the names and pictures.

    It is interesting that a guy passing counterfeit $200 bills with Geroge W Bush's pictures cannot be charged for counterfeiting because there is no such thing as a $200 bill...

  • Let's see, these scammers send a rubber check written for an amount greater than the sum of their purchase, ask for a refund in cash - then cash and their items for free. How is this different than a standard bad check scam?

    Who in this day and age still accepts checks from strangers over the Internet and ships without waiting for the funds to clear first, or verifiying the check electronically? Even newbie eBay sellers make sure funds clear before shipping. You want your item shipped now, you pay by a m
    • I wrote a story for a paper I work for this week about some guy here in town who got one of thses checks. You should see the emails these morons sent this guy. Hilarious and horrible English: You can make the transfer of our profit to our headquarters in London.
      These morons gave him instructions on how to send the extra $2100 via Western Union. The fake check was sent from Greece in a crappy brown paper envelope and they wanted payemt sent to Scotland. What a racket they got going. The check looks pretty go
      • by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:33PM (#10644923) Journal
        A cheque written on anything is legal, you don't have to use the slips of paper the bank sends you.

        I could write "pay to the order of (whoever) 1200.00" on a kleenex, and it's still a cheque. All it needs is my account number and signature/stamp.

        Banks would (and of course, should) give you a hard time cashing it, they'd probably call my bank, and my bank would call me, but in the end, after much bitching, it's a legal cheque.

        All a cheque is is a written permission from whoever writes it for the bank to transfer the funds.
        • Except 99.999% of banks makes you sign an agreement you will only use bank issued checks for any transactions. So you could not make a check out of say, your first born. And expect the bank to honor it.
        • I remember once hearing a story of some guy paying his alimony by making a check out of his shirt (i.e., "and the shirt on my back"). The bank cashed it. Can't find it on Google so it may not be true though.
    • These people *do* wait for the cheques to clear. The problem is that a bank will try to clear a cheque as quickly as possible, usually within a few days. But it can take over a month for them to actually contact the foreign bank where the cheque came from, send over all the documents (almost none of this can be done electronically), and so on. So what happens is, a person deposits a cheque; a few days later the money shows up in their account, and they think "Great, it cleared!" when it actuality it hasn
  • Good idea! (Score:3, Informative)

    by ggvaidya (747058) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:29PM (#10644873) Homepage Journal
    419eaters eating into your bottom line? Slashdot them into oblivia!

    $Superhero: Not so fast, evil scammers! This website has been mirrordotted [mirrordot.org]!

    [Cue: spammers cringe in fear, as the stampede of the nerds is rendered harmless.]

  • by Dimensio (311070) <.moc.uolgi. .ta. .ratskrad.> on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:52PM (#10645171)
    September 18 was 419eater.com's first birthday, and it's the site where I learned about scambaiting.

    The webmaster, "Shiver Metimbers" (obviously not his real name), held a contest in honor of the event. The goal was to get a scammer to hold up a sign reading "HAPPY BIRTHDAY 419EATER" -- and since a number of scammers already knew what the website was (and since 419 itself might cause the "smarter" scammers to twig anyway), it was something of a challenge. The successful baiter would win the contest. If multiple victories were secured before September 18, the readers of the 419eater.com forum would vote on the best picture.

    I rose to the challenge. Though it took me until the last minute to secure an entry, I did finally have a worthy submission. I find it interesting that jonbarry, whose "nude gender-undetermined mugu" picture ended up taking second place, actually encouraged people to consider voting for me instead.

    I don't attribute the end result to skill, just luck in finding the right scammer dumb enough to fall for it. You can read the email exchange that led to the pictures and see the pictures themselves at my Birthday Bait [iglou.com] page.

    I've yet to update it with the final details, though I can report that I was unable to secure any nice new pictures from the lad. I got a little overeager (I figured that I had nothing to lose by asking for a nude group shot, but no dice).

    As for the other entries...well, when the 419eater.com forum comes back up, search the Pictures forum for "Birthday" in the subject line. You should come up with a locked topic that has the entries and the final vote totals.
  • by karlandtanya (601084) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:54PM (#10645190)
    Con artists depend on the greed and self-delusion of the mark. It is the ability of the mark to lie to himself in order to steal from and cheat other people that makes a con work.


    If I'm a con artist, I would love it if every mark thought he was going to turn the tables on me. Makes my job all the easier.


    TANSTAAFL, people. Reality is not nearly as exciting as delusion. But it's a lot more reliable.

  • Virtual reverse-scams are safest...I convinced one of these guys that I (in the guise of Sam Walton) was traveling to Abidjan [warmfusion.com] to meet him. I even tied up all the loose ends by creating a fake news story [206.67.47.69] about Sam's adventures.

  • I don't think I would deliberately try to get a criminal infuriated at me.

    I don't even try to get ordinary citizens infuriated at me.

    Nigeria is only a few hundred dollars away (these days it may be more relevant to measure airfare in dollars than miles).
  • by museumpeace (735109) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @03:58PM (#10646067) Journal
    While we are waiting for that poor server to get back on its feet, let me tell you about a less common scam that has a higher percentage of success because it is more disarming to its victims. It is the "overpayment for a large purchase, to defray shipping costs" scheme. It goes roughly as follows.
    1. you advertise an expensive item on line..car, piano etc.
    2. an "agent" for an interested buyer responds, perhaps in an exchange of several emails to build your confidence...after all YOU initiated this transaction.
    3. if scammer is in a big hurry, he offers an extra few thousand $ "for shipping" and , sight-unseen sends you a cashiers check with sometimes complex instructions that the check should be cashed immediately and the excess mailed or wired to some 4th party who is the "shipper" and requires payment before he will pick up the goods.
    4. your bank honors the cashiers check
    5. you wire the money
    6. 3 days later the bank tells you the check was a forgery and debits its full amount from your account.
    7. and of course, no shipper ever arrives
    For me, the eagerness of the "agent" to pay full price for a piano they never saw set off alarms. My state's atty Gen. office had a web page exactly describing the scam. The headers on the email were hard to trace but I could not tell whether the buyer was supposedly in NY or London. When the FEDEX arrived with the check and the country code was NG, that was the last straw. I now have a totally phoney cashiers check , a good piece to study if you want to learn how to spot forgeries, framed in the den. We got one phone call [which I wish I knew how to trace...don't give out your phone number!] and several frantic e-mails from our scammer. When I offered to "save" him some money by waiting until the check cleared and sending him back the excess over what the shipping would really have cost, he protested that the buyer might soon change their mind about the purchase. When I subsequently gave him the URL for the AGO's website and accused him of fraud he acted hurt. I never told him about the typo in the fine-print stripe urging me to read the missing "Bank of America water mark".
    Uh, anybody want to by a piano?
    if you are going to play these games, you might want to bookmark the Fedex country codes page [fedex.com] and set up one or more spam-hole email accounts.
  • by Max Threshold (540114) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @04:43PM (#10646606)
    Several months ago, we started getting relay calls [sprintrelayonline.com] at work from someone who claimed to be in China. He wanted to order several camcorders and laptops and have them delivered to his "client" in Ghana. We told him to piss off. He kept calling, though. Eventually he asked if he could order the merchandise from somewhere else and have it shipped to us, then arrange for someone to pick it up and ship it out of the country. We were like, sure. Sadly, the first items delivered were not laptops and camcorders, but clothes from Old Navy and 60 bottles of cheap perfume from Avon. The address on the credit card bill was in Spokane, WA. We called the credit card company to report the probable fraud, but they said they couldn't help us because we only had the last four digits of the card number! Several weeks later, the scammer called again and angrily accused us of trying to defraud him of his merchandise. We told him we were just waiting for somebody to pick it up. He never called back.

    Recently, we gave up on anyone ever coming for the loot and divvied it up. Two pairs of jeans for me (size 32x30), a couple button-up shirts for my co-worker (size XXL!), and the perfume went to eBay.

    Too bad... I wanted a free laptop.

    • I have a friend who works as a relay operator, he has to deal with this kind of thing all the time. He's not allowed to break the connection, tell the poor sucker it's a scam, or even report it to the authorities, as relay operators fall under common-carrier laws. Recently though, these scams have gotten so frequent that management looks the other way if operators break the connection.
  • Everything seems to be slashdotted, so I'm going to ask my question here in hopes of getting an answer: How did the anit-scammer manage to get the 419 scammer to actually send money? I know from what little I've been able to learn that the 419 scammer sent a bad check and was hoping to get merchandise and even money back on an "over payment", but how did the the anti-spammer convince the 419 scammer to send real money?
  • by man_ls (248470) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @05:06PM (#10646850)
    I wonder if I could convince any of them to buy me stuff..."my only computer is at my office, and my boss reads my e-mails and he is very greedy, in order to better assist you with this transaction and ensure your funds are safely delivered, I require a private computer for which I can access remotely. You may deduct the cost of the computer from my assistance fee."

    Only problem is, getting a safe address to ship it to, where I wouldn't have angry Nigerians coming to kill me.

    The P.O. box at my college is probably fairly safe, but I don't know *how* safe. heh.
  • ./ effect (Score:3, Funny)

    by cavac (640390) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @05:25PM (#10647049) Homepage
    The downed server reminds me of the ThinkGeek crash, see http://www.thinkgeek.com/slashdotted/index.shtml [thinkgeek.com]

    They even have a nice picture of how a ./'ed server looks like ;-)
  • by some guy I know (229718) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @02:59AM (#10651054) Homepage
    The 419ers are getting more imaginative, also.
    See this account [truthhurts.org] of how a person looking for a roommate was almost scammed out of $5000.

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