donderdag 24 september 2009

Internet fraud: 419 crimes

The Vanguard, Amsterdam. You heard of it. Maybe you’re involved in it. Nigerians are infamous for it. And a lot who see it happen have a laugh about it. Worldwide the business of internet fraud is know as ‘419 Scams’. Named after the article in the Nigerian law.

The potential victim is told that money needs to be saved on a bank account. And for any given reason his or her help is needed. If the potential victim is willing to lent the account information to store the money. He or she is promised a percentage as a reward. As the receiver of the invitation opens his bank account to the sender, instead of depositing the promised money, all money possible is withdrawn. The invitations are mostly sent by e-mail.


The number ‘419’ refers to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud, part of Chapter 38: ‘Obtaining Property by false pretenses; Cheating’. In the early 1980’s the decline of oil income in Nigeria triggered unemployed university students to find a way to cheated foreign businessmen. Who were looking for some quick money themselves. “Love makes blind”, goes the phrase. The scammers use the love for money as a bait. A greedy man can always be thrust on being greedy.


First the businessmen in Nigeria were targeted. The international markets followed. Mail was sent to addresses abroad. The internet made the scam more easy. More and more people tried their luck in the many internet cafe’s. Easy access to the internet and techniques results in more potential victims. Many of them are easily be fooled. Making it a very profitable business.

‘419 Scams’ originated from Nigeria. Studies show that, these days, the lion share is sent from Amsterdam Southeast, The Netherlands. Where the Nigerian crimes networks have strong bases. The biggest target groups for ‘419 scams’ are in the United States and Great Britain. One of the reasons is the same language: English. And because results proof the people of the two countries are easy targets.

In Amsterdam, where every household has internet, the scams are a running joke. “Amazed by ‘how stupid people must be to get fooled by theses e-mails”, says the internet specialist who made the software for the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Victims hardly get any sympathy when they confess they took the bait. One of the reasons seldom a victim speaks about it.

Last week The Vanguard’s International Desk in Amsterdam received a typical ‘419 Scam’ invitation e-mail. We publish the letter here:

“Attention,

How are you ,i hope all is well with you , well i am happy to inform you that i am successful to move the fund to Greece with the help of my new partner MRS. STEPHEN LAWRENCE who help me to receive the fund in her position right now i am presently in Greece for an investment with my own share , mean while i do not forget all your past effort and money spent in that time,now i decided to compensate you with the sum of $850.000.00 usd in a bank draft left behind with my secretary as i told you in my last email to you.now you have to contact her on her contacts info below

Names == MRS.FATIMA ABUBAKAR
Email== fatimajudith2000@yahoo.com

Ask her to send it to you on your delivery address which you will send to her, note that i have instructed her on what to do the only thing you have to do is to contact her now and forward to her your contact address /your cell number which she will use to contact you. once again am very happy to archive my aim.


Best regards
FRANK WILLIAMS”

By Auke VanderHoek
The Vanguard - International Desk Amsterdam

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