November 4, 2005 7:43 AM PST

Nigeria joins antiscam effort

British and Nigerian officials are teaming up to warn Internet users of fraudulent e-mails that try to con recipients into handing over cash.

The so-called Nigerian 419 scams have been a problem for a number of years; the partnership issued a statement Friday warning people about e-mails that "ask for help in moving large sums of money in exchange for a share of the spoils."

Christine Wade, director of consumer regulation enforcement for the U.K. Office of Fair Trading, said in a statement: "If you are targeted, recognize the 419 for what it is--an attempt to defraud you. Do not reply and do not give your personal details out. You are not about to become rich. These scams bear the hallmarks of professional criminals--use your common sense and don't become their next victim."

The scams were named "419ers" after the relevant section of the Nigerian criminal code. Many, but not all, originate from Nigeria and other West African nations.

Last month, Microsoft announced a partnership with the Nigerian government to help track down and prosecute criminals involved in the scams and other Internet-based fraud originating there.

Nuhu Ribadu, the executive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria, said in a statement that "419 and other Nigerian variants of cybercrime have done unquantifiable damage to Nigeria's image and credibility. The government has resolved to deal a fatal blow to the cybercrime networks operating from Nigeria and the West African sub-region."

The commission said it will be monitor cybercafes and take on a "significant" number of cases against such criminals based in Nigeria.

Nigeria has agreed to work with the other 26 member countries involved in the antispam effort known as the London Action Plan. (Click here for PDF.)

Dan Ilett of Silicon.com reported from London.

8 comments

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I got hundreds of those, for years
They were all wildly preposterous tales, a huge sum offered for
collusion in some deception. They came in my e-mail. Amusing
as they were, I wondered why they chose specifically me to pitch
to, and why so often and for so long, despite my lack of
response. I have seen none of these since switching to a less
popular computer platform. Part of me misses them. I admired
their audacity. I hear they have people in the US playing roles in
these scams. I also hear they paint Not For Sale on houses in
Nigeria because otherwise scammers sell them while their real
owners sleep in them. Interesting culture.
Posted by JackfromBerkeley (136 comments )
Reply Link Flag
For amusement about 419ers
Go to <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.scamorama.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.scamorama.com/</a> -- some of the stories are cautionary but others are a real hoot.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
I've got 47 different versions...
.... just in the last four months.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
THE 419 IS ONLY ONE OF MANY NIGERIAN SCAMS
Unfortunately the 149 scam is only one of many Nigerian scams. I get bombarded with their phony offers from Nigerians to by my products from ads paced on AudioShopper.com. They are easy to spot. They want pics, the condition (I am a dealer of new products so that is canned), they have their own shipper, and they will pay with a check or cashiers check (all phony). The Nigerians have poor spelling and grammar. They often say I saw your advert, hear from you soonest.

I doubt that the efforts mentioned in the article will have any substantial effects on the Nigerian scammers as apparently that country has chosen to be systemically infected with frauders.
Posted by bilacuda (13 comments )
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It's a joke right
Alas, must be a joke, for in Nigeria, a cyber cafe owner, is now being harassed by the local police, for bouncing and banning a 419 organizer from his internet cafe, for it seems this crook was offering them payola earned from these scams! It's the old story 'Seeing is Believing!' . As nelson would say Ha! Ha!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
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What a joke.
Nothing is going to come out of this. As long as people allow their greed, and sometimes innocense, to run wild, these scams will continue.
This sound more like a publicity stunt.
Don't know the sender??? DELETE !!!!

Is that simple.
Posted by Dead Soulman (245 comments )
Reply Link Flag
B*** Shit
Just like South Africa they are all talk and no action. Simply becaue the leaders of these countries have there fingers well in the cookie-jar. South Africa leader, Thabo Mbeki has even been implicaed in the Iraq oil for food scandle....and more than likely Nelson Mandela got his piece of the piece.
Posted by euroedm (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ROFL
These damn things are so funny. I mean, I've even gotten a christmas one!

It was someone claiming to be some old lady full of cancer with 15million in some holding company, and no relattives or anything, and the holding company was threatening to confiscate the money if she didn't send it to someone. It was religious, and the irony of the use of religion to try to make you think it's real is just hilarious!
Posted by Bobbias (55 comments )
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