Six 419 scammers were last week taken out of circulation by the Dutch courts who sentenced them to between 301 days and 4.5 years. They were also ordered to return £205,702 each to an unnamed victim.
One Swiss professor - presumably he wrote his doctorate on complete stupidity - gave the gang $482,000 on the promise of a $9 million return. Among the "expenses" he shelled out was a sum for chemicals needed to "clean" the illicit cash. This is a 419 classic - the notes have allegedly been marked with a special dye to prevent recirculation. Obviously, getting it off requires special, expensive liquids...
The prof did, however, eventually get his revenge on the ne'er-do-well Nigerians. He helped the Dutch police lure the scammers to an Amsterdam railway station in the Summer of 2002, where the whole bunch had their collars duly felt. Sadly, the total amount accrued by the jailbirds is unknown. The authorities believe it runs into millions of euro, none of which is likely to be recovered.
Which is why, despite the threat of incarceration, 419ers continue to clog up email inboxes world-wide with their preposterous solicitations. Most of them are so familiar as to be an everyday part of the spam landscape. Sometimes, however, one catches your eye. Take this tremendous example:
Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make anyone apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that everything will be well at the end of the sucessfull execution of this business.I have decided to contact you due to the urgency of this transaction.
Let me start by introducing myself properly to you. I am Mr.benny hills,an external auditor of Ned credit Bank Johannesburg, South Africa.
Benny Hills? You must be joking. If one Benny Hill wasn't bad enough (1970s British comedian, chased semi-naked women around parks, hilarious, etc. etc.), we're now faced with the prospect of multiple Bennys holding $36;30,800,000 dollars in an account in SA. Doubtless this particular scammer does a nice line in side-splitting racist impressions (Chinamen a speciality), when not slapping short bald men on the head.
Now, a word of advice to all potential 419ers - the following names are unsuitable for engendering business confidence: Frank Spencer; Basil Fawlty; Del Boy Trotter.
And another word of advice. Don't mess with www.africanscam.co.uk. These boys specialise in scambaiting, and readers are recommended to have a look at "Completed Scams... Mupesa Solomon". They even got the poor bloke to fly to Dubai and then photographed him at the airport. And what did he get for his trouble? Not one penny. Top effort. ®