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Scambaiting Gets Comical; Internet Scammers All Dressed Up 178

Posted by timothy
from the made-in-the-shadenfreude dept.
Nurse Nasty writes "Scambaiting is a fun and relaxing full-contact email sport. It's all about baiting Internet and email scammers into exposing themselves and sharing that humiliation with the entire world. Recently I baited four different groups of Internet scammers into being comic book action super-heroes, and then giving them their own 10-page graphic novel. It's a bit of fun and eduction through entertainment." (Warning: The comic contains a bit of naughty language.)
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Scambaiting Gets Comical; Internet Scammers All Dressed Up

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  • by palegray.net (1195047) <philip@paradis.palegray@net> on Sunday January 03, 2010 @05:54AM (#30630622) Homepage Journal
    I am intrigued by your offer, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. Before I do so, I must inform you that I am the deposed son of a deceased diplomat, and I would like to enlist your aid in moving the sum of $12 million out of my country from a secret account. Please reply (and subscribe me to) dearlyloaded@hotmail.com. Yours in Faith, Balatruyiah Malkorurtink
    • by symes (835608) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @06:56AM (#30630826) Journal
      God bless you dearest Balatruyiah - my fellow church members and I are delighted to help someone so neady at their time of greatest nead. I will send our account information as soon as you can confirm you are wearing the needed stockings, suspenders and rubber chicken. When you take the photos please do ensure you have "humped in heaven" written across your brow so we know it's you.
    • You're REALLY asking for it, aren't you?

      Get dressed, you know what the man wants to see! I suggest something simple for a change, a tuxedo, black tie, top hat. Your superhero name will be "Prez's grave digger".

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday January 03, 2010 @05:57AM (#30630630)
    They're technically breaking their local law by running these scams... but they're one of the leading industries so the government can't afford to shut them down. Since there's no hope you finding them if you go there so they feel safe from you, and certainty that they'd be arrested if they come here so you're safe from them finding you... let the fun and games begin.
    • by phonewebcam (446772) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @07:52AM (#30630976) Homepage

      An obvious scam the government can't afford to shut down because of the taxes it brings in? We have one of those too ... its called the tobacco industry.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not to mention that giant ponzi scheme commonly referred to as "The banking industry."

      • by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Sunday January 03, 2010 @09:51AM (#30631328) Homepage Journal

        Tobacco? You're out of date and out of touch. 3 decades ago, tobacco was one of the biggest scams in the US. Today? Not much. They deliver precisely what they say, without being overly hyped. Scam? They tell you right on the package, "This shit can kill you!" How is that a scam?

        http://www.thefreedictionary.com/scam [thefreedictionary.com]

        scam [skæm] Slang
        n
        a stratagem for gain; a swindle
        vb scams, scamming, scammed
        (tr) to swindle (someone) by means of a trick

        My recommendation for you, is reading comprehension 101. Somewhere, you've failed.

        Today, the biggest scams involve the defense industry, diet foods and drinks, pharmaceuticals, insurance, and the "War on Terra" along with the "War on Drugs". Please, don't allow your obsessive/compulsive hatred of tobacco confuse you.

        • by Tolkien (664315)
          The tobacco industry actively argues against the fact that their products cause cancer despite the warnings they are legally obligated to place on the packaging. The only reason I don't believe it's a scam is because the government has regulated the hell out of it instead of shutting it down.
        • with the "War on Drugs". Please, don't allow your obsessive/compulsive hatred of tobacco confuse you.

          Tobacco should be a schedule I drug [wikipedia.org], everyone who posses the tiniest amount ought to feel the full wrath of the war on drugs brought down on them. But they don't, because of the scam.

          • by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Sunday January 03, 2010 @12:38PM (#30632242) Homepage Journal

            Horse Shit.

            There should be no schedule 1 drugs, or schedule 2, or any other schedule. Prohibition gained this country nothing but rum-runners and armed gangs in the 1920's, and the war on drugs has gained us the same thing since the 1940's. Prohibition is for morons, fools, and zealots - and there is no proven method to separate the groups.

            Prohibition has not only killed tens of thousands of American citizens, it is today killing thousands of Mexican citizens, and destroying the poor excuse for a government that they enjoy.

            Legalize and/or decriminalize drugs, let the potheads and crack addicts have all they want. Can't you hear Darwin? "Those fools have nothing to offer society anyway - let them kill themselves!"

            If John Q. wants to blow 10 kilos of cocaine, LET HIM!! It's his right to die from an overdose if that's what he wants to do. Stop wasting resources on keeping him alive, just so we can persecute him for being a coke fiend!

            As for my caffeine and nicotine addictions, I'll deal with them myself, in my own good time. I'll stop smoking some day. Probably the day the doctor pronounces me dead. And, it's none of YOUR business.

            • There should be no schedule 1 drugs, or schedule 2, or any other schedule. Prohibition gained this country nothing but rum-runners and armed gangs in the 1920's, and the war on drugs has gained us the same thing since the 1940's. Prohibition is for morons, fools, and zealots - and there is no proven method to separate the groups.

              Well I agree with that, but as long as there is a schedule I, tobacco fits the bill and it should be on that list, but it isn't, and that's a scam.

            • by Strep (956749)
              Prohibition got us years and years of Kennedys.
            • As for my caffeine and nicotine addictions, I'll deal with them myself, in my own good time. I'll stop smoking some day. Probably the day the doctor pronounces me dead. And, it's none of YOUR business.

              It wouldn't be any of my business if I didn't have to pay more for your health care because of your choices. If you paid enough more for your health care than the people that make better choices then it wouldn't be anyone's business. But you don't, so it is. That's the real problem with the just let the morons do all the blow they want to attitude. They end up in the ER (because they typically have no health insurance) or killing unrelated people in traffic accidents or whatever. Those both represent large

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by glodime (1015179)

                Runaway1956 Wrote:

                As for my caffeine and nicotine addictions, I'll deal with them myself, in my own good time. I'll stop smoking some day. Probably the day the doctor pronounces me dead. And, it's none of YOUR business.

                Taxman415a Wrote:

                It wouldn't be any of my business if I didn't have to pay more for your health care because of your choices.

                I say that it is still none of your business. It costs money for funding highways and airports to connect distant places in the USA, but that is not a reason to prevent people from living in cities far from each other.

                They [addicts] end up in the ER (because they typically have no health insurance) or killing unrelated people in traffic accidents or whatever. Those both represent large costs to people that avoid the behavior.

                These costs don't seem to be reduced by making drugs illegal to use or possess. As drug users don't seem to care if it is against the law to use their drug of choice. In other words, making an activity illegal does prevent that activity. We could simply tax drugs sales at a certain level and t

              • As Dr. Chuck Bunsen points out - a smoker's lifetime health care costs less than a non-smoker's. The smoker is more likely to just DIE before he uses a zillion dollars worth of health care.

                AC replied to Dr. Chuck, asking for citations. I'll refer you to the controversy in New York regarding the proposed taxes on "fat foods". It seems that a lot of New Yorkers have stopped smoking, started eating, and have become diabetics. Solution? Punish those ex-smokers by adding exorbitant taxes to the foods they'v

                • So you're taking people that smoked and quit, then take up a new bad habit-eating too much. That's not surprising, nor does it provide any evidence that smokers are cheaper for health care overall.

                  The diseases the smokers die of aren't all sudden ones and as another poster pointed out, cancer is extremely expensive to treat. A small increase in the incidence of cancer would pay for many many years of health care for non smokers. Over all I'm still betting smokers cost much much more.
                  • You're betting. The posts above weren't betting, they stated as fact that smokers cost more than nonsmokers. There are plenty of headlines out there - not that I believe them all.

                    BTW - where do all these people over 100 who have smoked all their adult lives, and are as healthy as anyone fit in?

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Jesus_666 (702802)
              How about this approach: There are various types of restricted drugs (you need restrictions to prevent random over-the-counter sale of antibiotics anyway) but all of the restrictions only apply to the seller.

              Type 1 restricted drugs can only be sold by pharmacies and only if a medical doctor prescribed them. This applies to antibiotics and other medical drugs that shouldn't be handed out willy-nilly. Possession is legal as long as acquisition was. In case of an illegal sale proving it's a valid defense to
              • Jesus, I could go along with any number of schemes - provided that they were RATIONAL. Your scheme is rational. Not necessarily a scheme that I might like - but rational. Scroll up to the poster who thinks that my health is any of his business. He simply doesn't understand that I have one life, and that I am going to die one day, by one method or another. I'm going to pay taxes til I quit working, then I'll be a financial burden on society. If I choose to participate in an activity such as smoking whi

                • by Jesus_666 (702802)
                  The problem with botox and similarly lethal substances is that it's not just easy to kill yourself, it's just as easy to kill other people, even by accident. Granted, it's perfectly posible for someone without formal training to safely handle the stuff but I think relatively heavy restrictions for some of the most deadly substances are acceptable as long as we don't go overboard.

                  Okay, given the kind of politicians everywhere tends to have we can safely expect them to take all of five minutes to demand tha
            • Well said! The worst vice I can think of is the compulsive need to mind other people's business
            • by AmiMoJo (196126)

              Problem is cocaine costs money, and being an addict John Q probably doesn't earn much, assuming he can even hold down a job. Even with the lower prices due to no longer being illegal it's still going to encourage crime. Some of the chavs round here will rob you just to get a better mobile phone, so you can imagine what they will be like with a drug habit to feed.

              It's also naive to think that everyone who becomes addicted to drugs (of any kind, alcohol and tobacco included) does so by choice. Sometimes peopl

              • Alright - we need to draw a distinction here. Cocaine and crack cocaine aren't the same thing. Crack is supposed to be addictive after just one high. Powder cocaine is much, much less addictive.

                A huge number of famous people have used cocaine, without ruining their lives. A huge number of people have ruined their lives with cocaine - George Dubya Bush comes to mind as part of that latter group.

                So, you see, it's not all cut and dried.

                As for helping people - well, those bleeding hearts who are in charge n

          • by sowth (748135) *

            Anyone smoking tobacco, marijuana, crack or anything else in the presence of others or where others will breathe the smoke should be prosecuted under industrial pollution laws. I'm sure there are also laws against forcing other people to take medical substances, and they should be prosecuted under those laws as well.

            The real scam is the war on drugs. The government just makes it so the stuff that goes on is hidden, production of the stuff is completely unregulated (leading innocent people to be exposed to

        • Yes. The biggest scam is soap. And antibacterial soap.

          Washing your body with soap gets rid of important bacteria, which upsets the balance of your skin, and causes odor. The next time you take a shower/bath, try scrubbing with a clean, wet cloth. No soap. No shampoo or conditioner.

          I haven't used soap, shampoo, or hair conditioner in 3 days, and I have no smell, my hair is healthier than ever, and my skin is no longer dry/scaly. I take showers to wash off the extra sweat/oil on my skin, but I only use

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Blakey Rat (99501)

            Wow, way to blow away all of those Slashdotter stereotypes!!

            • by hawk (1151)

              He left out the catches, though . . .

              For some reason, my wife won't let me sit on the couch any more. I explained, but she insisted.

              Changint the oil in two cars is hard work! I *need* to sprawl out afterwards . . . :)

              hawk

          • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

            Anti-bacterial soap is the super-scam there, because plain old bar soap and a brisk rubbing action already kills about 99% of germs.

            I still recommend using soap though. I'm sorry, but not very many people have the correct diet that cause their sweat and oils to not stink. If you don't wash you end up stinking a lot and most people don't appreciate hanging around stinky people.

            Also, the "germs are good for you" is decidedly bogus, since your skin exists for the express purpose of protecting you from those

    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @08:35AM (#30631064) Journal
      While it appears that for some reason this scene is dominated by Nigerian scammers, they don't always operate out of their own country. Amsterdam and London are popular bases for these scammers and they get arrested there all the time, sometimes with the help of Nigerian police. Amsterdam cops bust 419 ring, arrest 52 [silicon.com]
      • Mostly they're just the "executive" branch of the op. They're there to cash in the Western Union transfers and do other errands. They're the ones that are most exposed and thus easiest to catch.

        It's a bit like cashing in the street dealers and calling it a major sting against organized drug crime...

    • Since there's no hope you finding them if you go there so they feel safe from you,

      Seems to me that the most succesful of the scammers - the ones that you hear about once or twice a year fooling some sucker into sending hundreds of thousands of dollars ought to be very concerned because it should be comparatively cheap to higher a couple of soldier-of-fortune types to go hunt them down and extract some of that money or a few pounds of flesh. The trick is make sure your soldier-of-fortune types aren't just scammers of another breed themselves...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tburkhol (121842)

      They're technically breaking their local law by running these scams... but they're one of the leading industries so the government can't afford to shut them down.

      The scammers are breaking the law in most countries. The moniker "419" refers to a section of the Nigerian fraud code which basically says it's OK to scam a scammer. This allows the scammer to trick the victim into a minor fraud, such as claiming to be a friend or relative of a deposed Nigerian finance minister, or providing bribe money, and thus make the scammer immune to civil or criminal prosecution.

      Ob-wikilink [wikipedia.org]

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by marten_77 (590526)
        You made me curious, so I just read the relevant section of the Nigerian criminal code. I don't think that you are correct in your statement of the law. Neither Section 419, Section 419A, Section 419B, nor any of their subsections establishes any such sort of affirmative defense. The language of the statute looks pretty similar to most other fraud statutes, and is rather unremarkable: http://www.nigeria-law.org/Criminal%20Code%20Act-Part%20VI%20%20to%20the%20end.htm [nigeria-law.org]
    • by Anonymous Coward

      As a retired scambaiter, I'd like to address a few issues.

      They're technically breaking their local law by running these scams... but they're one of the leading industries so the government can't afford to shut them down.

      Actually, it's more about the culture. The government does take action against the scammers but a large part of the population supports them since, sadly, their culture is such that it's admirable, if you can earn (lots of) money without working. It is a sign of being smart and that's why scammers are sometimes referred to as "sharp men".

      Since there's no hope you finding them if you go there so they feel safe from you, and certainty that they'd be arrested if they come here so you're safe from them finding you... let the fun and games begin.

      Another mistake. The Nigerian scammers operate all over the world and in particular in Bangkok, Berlin, Amsterdam,

    • by Strep (956749)
      Interestingly, the same scam is coded 420 by the Indian Penal system. Additionally interestingly, a hit bollywood movie is called "420".
      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        Ah, but don't forget, "420" is exactly the same as 2x210!! And as we all know, 210 is simply 21 ten times, and there was a movie out a couple years ago about the number 21.

        What's your point?

  • Looks like the linked is /.ed...
  • by lucm (889690) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @06:15AM (#30630688)

    > Scambaiting is a fun and relaxing full-contact email sport. It's all about baiting Internet and email scammers into exposing themselves and sharing that humiliation with the entire world.

    Slashbaiting is even better: have someone posting a mildly funny story to generate trafic for their website, only to make their web server go down in flames in only a few minutes of exposure on Slashdot.

    ("Yes Mr Advertiser, I got 200k visitors on my website last January. 199,997 of them between 5h and 5h10 on Jan 3, but still...").

    • Re:Slashbaiting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @08:13AM (#30631016)

      Nurse Nasty is one of the regulars at 419eater.com, I doubt if they did this to generate traffic. The more peopel know about 419 fraud and the various methods used to scam people, the better. Even learning simple things, like why a check "clearing" doesn't, in the US at least, mean it is a good check; and may prevent soemone from being a victim.

      You'd be surprised how many people aren't aware of how scams work. I ran into someone selling his bike; he had received a "money order" for the purchase, shipping, and an "opps, I sent to much please send me a Western Union money order for the overage less an a extra $200 for your troubles" overage. I explained to him that it probably was a classic overpayment fraud and either take the MO to his bank or police station and explain his concerns; or to simply send an email saying deal's off bank won't take your MO and tear up the MO. Either way, he was saved from a very expensive mistake.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        And exactly how does Nurse Nasty's comic "get the message across"? All I see is some self-congratulation at the expense of some Nigerians
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by BertieBaggio (944287)

          RTFSite. The 419-baiters take time and money from the scammers, which slows them perpetrating *real* scams.

          Also, they make the scammers more paranoid about the next responder, which is wonderfully poetic.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by hawk (1151)

        The California bar has sent out warning messages about these.

        The version for attorneys has the attorney contacted from out of the country for help collecting a judgment, offering a typical contingency fee arrangement. The case quickly settles with the attorney involved, the attorney receives a cashier check, upon which no hold is put when he deposits it into his trust account (quite common for attorneys with a good relation with the bank who typically deposit institutional checks).

        The attorney is then to w

  • by yanguang (1471209) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @06:23AM (#30630712) Homepage

    never fails.

  • by symes (835608) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @06:24AM (#30630714) Journal
    Sometimes I wonder if those Nigerians willing to engage in these scams are not just the poor and desparate foot soldiers of someone far more nasty... people who are caught in poverty and desparation can do strange things when offered a glimmer of a reward. Now what would be funny is if the 419eater people went and scambaited the Somali pirates. Now that would be worth watching.
    • by timmarhy (659436)
      that only makes the case stronger to waste their time and keep them from real victims and making more money.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Waste your own time you mean. Those 'real victims' are greedy and stupid. You can't protect those from themselves. Scam baiting doesn't solve that in any measurable way.

        • 419 E-mails are clearly going for greed. But I know quite a few older people who have almost fallen for the craigs list "I'm on vacation" scam.

          Does anyone know any Nigerian that I can post in my ads that basically say "I'm not interested, don't even try?" I found some stuff or 419 eater alluding to how the guy was conceived and what stable his mother was in, after I sent it to him things stopped rather quickly (after a long list of broken english obscenities.)

    • by Jeppe Salvesen (101622) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @07:05AM (#30630850)

      Not quite. The 419'ers are proof of how technology and persistence can move people from the lower middle class to the upper middle class.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by SD-Arcadia (1146999)
        What they do is merely an up-to-date trick of the tradeless. Beggars, hobos, petty thieves with an internet connection. A criminal enterprise ofcourse, but reverse-baiting them in vigilante fashion just reeks of classism and racism. I don't find it not much funnier than putting monopoly bills in a beggar's can.
        • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @10:01AM (#30631376)

          Erh... no. It's like carrying monopoly money in your purse so the next thief gets nothing but colored paper instead of money.

          To make sure you see the difference between beggars and thieves: Beggars ask you for money. Thieves trick you into giving it to them. The difference is that in one case it's your free decision.

          • by evilviper (135110)

            Beggars ask you for money. Thieves trick you into giving it to them.

            What level of deception is required? Is a beggar with a sign that (incorrectly) says "Vietnam War Vet" a scammer?

            How about one who just asks for money for food, but actually needs money for booze or other drugs? Beggar or thief?

    • by b4upoo (166390)

      There are plenty of spamers located right here in the US who need some serious behavioral corrections.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jonadab (583620)
      > Sometimes I wonder if those Nigerians willing to
      > engage in these scams are not just the poor and desparate

      On the contrary, they have internet access on a regular basis. This pretty much implies that they are necessarily upper-class, by local standards. (This is not entirely the same thing as being upper-class by American standards, granted. But it's a *long* way from being the poor and the desperate.) Additionally, poor people in Nigeria would never have been able to put together some of those
    • by selven (1556643) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @09:43AM (#30631306)

      From the 419eater.com letters archive:

      For the most part these criminals are not, "poor people trying to scratch a living", but are very prosperous compared to their law-abiding countrymen, and many operate in highly organised, and highly successful criminal gangs. Millions of dollars are stolen on a DAILY basis, with absolutely no thought given to victims, who are losing vast amounts of money, homes, relatives, jobs and worse. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just "greedy & stupid people" that fall for these scams.

    • by fm6 (162816)

      Consider that anybody with access to the internet (and nowadays, that's anybody who lives in an urban area, and quite a few who don't) can launch a 419 scam. No need for a big perfidious organization. And such an organization would surely hire a few people to write better (as in "literate") scam letters.

      How do you scambait Somali pirates? Bearing in mind the risks of playing games with the heavily armed and bloodthirsty.

  • OMMFG. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03, 2010 @06:34AM (#30630742)

    Shame on you /., posting this shit. The comic plumbed heretofore unplumbed depths of shittiness. I can't believe I wasted the time waiting on that shit to load. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME READING THESE "COMICS". They make pre-teen fan-fiction look like classic literature. What complete and utter shit. A new low for a slash story. Jesus fucking christ. Sure, moderators, mark this -7 Troll, but it's still not as bad as the OP.

  • Define baiting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hwyhobo (1420503) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @07:21AM (#30630894)

    Have we just been baited into reading crap for no good reason? Does that qualify as scam? Scam baiting? Or Baiting scam?

    • Have we just been baited into reading crap for no good reason? Does that qualify as scam? Scam baiting? Or Baiting scam?

      Either way, one thing we can be sure of is that the author is a master baiter.

      <cricket chirps/>

      Thanks, I'll be here all week. Try the veal!

    • by Smurf (7981)

      Have we just been baited into reading crap for no good reason? Does that qualify as scam? Scam baiting? Or Baiting scam?

      None of the above. Read TFS again. Nurse Nasty said that scambaiting is a fun sport. He never claimed that the comic book itself was actually funny. If you feel disappointed it's your own fault.

      Some people might find the comic book funny and others won't. The point is not if the comic book itself is funny. What is amusing is the fact that this guy got all these creeps to take humiliating pictures of themselves, and that he published them for the world to see. Given that these are some of the very few people

  • confused (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    so you're trying to promote your unfunny comic about baiting scammers by spamming it all over the place?

  • by AniVisual (1373773) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @08:23AM (#30631030)

    Not newsworthy. Not newsworthy at all.

    • The comic itself probably isn't. Scamming is enjoying a high time and raising awareness to it certainly is newsworthy, though. If done in a way that entertains people (for whatever reason...) at least it gets heard instead of glossed over and forgotten.

  • He claimed to be a starving woman from East Uganda, I did a traceroute and, of course, he was from India. It went well for 2-3 rounds, but then everything fell apart when Gmail helpfully dunked all his new messages into the spam folder and I didn't see any of them.

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