You may have never heard of them, but they definitely have your email address. They are the Yahoo-Yahoo Boys; the young Nigerian men who cut wide swaths of cash by preying on the naiveté of moneyed Westerners vis a vis their dreaded 419 emails. ...But if you check your spam folder right now you might notice that it is slightly lighter these days. That's because it's been a tough week for Nigeria’s most infamous internet enthusiasts. Due to the week-long strike action that took place in response to the government’s decision to remove a national fuel subsidy, it has become increasingly difficult for the Yahoos to extract funds from their “clients”. [...] The Yahoos' disposition towards #OccupyNigeria is also worth paying attention to because 419 culture is essentially a street-level microcosm of the institutional corruption that has plagued Nigeria for the past forty years. And although the Yahoos are often blamed for distorting Nigeria’s image abroad, they've also become part of the cultural fabric.
The Sakawa Boys: Inside the Bizarre Criminal World of Ghana’s Cyber-Juju Email Scam Gangs is a short documentary about Sakawa, the Nigerian mix of African black magic and Internet scamming that has grown into its own cultural phenomenon, complete with clothing brands, music, and "Nollywood" movies. Previously, we have seen I Go Chop Your Dollar, whose star was subsequently arrested. See also this (PDF alert!) academic paper on the subject
Randolph Carter received an interesting proposition over email. A Nigerian politician offered the scholar a once in a lifetime business opportunity that could provide wealth for both parties if Carter could make a small initial investment. Carter needed the money to finance his research into obscure Polynesian cultures, especially references to a strange god named "Cthulhu"... [more inside]
"i accept the fact that i am GUILTY… and will not hesitate to be prosecuted when the law catch up with me… and i know my God will forgive because i pray to him to replenish the pockets of my clients with double of whatever they loss" Mike Nash has a surprisingly frank chat with a 419 scammer.
The US Attorney's office has submitted email correspondence between Bernie Madoff and his victims, some of whom are more deserving than others. Via
"DEAR SIR, MAY I CRAVE YOUR INDULGENCE TO OPEN THIS BUSINESS DISCUSSION BY A FORMAL LETTER OF THIS SORT. MY NAME IS MARIAM ABACHA..."
[419Filter] The Perfect Mark: After losing thousands and being sentenced to prison, John Worley is still convinced the Nigerian governmental officials and their fortune exist.
Ze Frank, nigerian 419 scammer. [Quicktime]
Anatomy of a 419 Scam. A detailed blow-by-blow account of how an otherwise intelligent and ordinary human being is suckered into losing a grand of his own money.
Hollywood? Old. Bollywood? That's soooo 2003. Make room for Nollywood, Nigeria's own film industry which is growing by leaps and bounds every year, and is currently worth about $45 million dollars. About 400 Nollywood films are produced every year many on a budget of around $15000 and are distributed almost entirely by VHS and VCD. The stories are very much simplistic and pulpy (check out 419 Stalk Exchange. Yes, 419 as in the email scam) but are much preferred by local residents and emigre's than the usual arthouse fair one often thinks of when talking about African cinema. Now if you'll excuse me there's a bucket of popcorn and a copy of GSM Connection waiting for me in the living room.
Scamming the scammer Somewhere along the line I think we've all wondered what would happen if we answered the Nigerian 419 scam email. Now we don't have to. Someone calling himself 'ebola monkey man' has been taking the scammer's on a email journey to the point that he will only agree to send them money if they send him a silly picture of themselves holding up a sign with their name on... [via b3ta]
Still getting those Nigerian scam spams? Brad Christensen is too -- but he seems to be enjoying them. (And he's not the only one, either.)
A new chapter in the nigerian letter fraud most recently discussed here. Yes, someone actually fell for it, and cost her employer $2.1 million in the process. via fark.