How to beat the 419 scammers

Some of us are all too familiar with those emails in which an alleged former dignitary of the Nigerian government proposes to set up a bank account where millions of dollars – often a fallen dictator’s ill-gained fortune – can be kept safely. In return, you’ll get a percentage of the stash.

Most people laugh at these pleas. Some read them out loud at parties. At least a half a dozen web scam bait sites poke fun at these get-rich-quick schemes, and engage in often hilarious dialogues with the scamsters.

Regrettably, victims fork over enough money to sustain an industry that ranks in Nigeria’s Top five. Officials estimate that Britons alone lose £150 million a year to such frauds. Globally, experts put the annual take at a staggering $1.5 billion, money that is often used to finance heroin smuggling and other criminal activities. [The Register]

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