This Is An Ex-Parrot!!! (And Maybe, Just Maybe, An Ex-Scammer)
February 17, 2007 8:31 PM   Subscribe

Monty Python's Dead Parrot Sketch, Scammer-Style. (YouTube, approx. 7 mins.) The video was created by a Nigerian email scammer who thought he was producing a video for a victim he tried to scam. The victim fought back. Read the whole story (it's a long story, with many tangents, but fascinating) in two parts from 419 Eater: Part 1, Part 2. For reference, here's the original Monty Python Dead Parrot Sketch.
posted by amyms (72 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is awesome. The actors' degree of commitment is really wonderful.
posted by grobstein at 8:48 PM on February 17, 2007


Fascinating - I hadn't heard of 419 baiting before, but I'm loving the idea.
posted by odinsdream at 8:52 PM on February 17, 2007


lovely plumage.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:53 PM on February 17, 2007


It's not a dead parrot, it's a plastic duck decoy.
posted by Balisong at 8:59 PM on February 17, 2007


I never would've thought I'd actually almost start to feel sorry for an email scammer.
posted by mediareport at 9:07 PM on February 17, 2007


You can't expect Nigerians to know much about fjords.
posted by tommasz at 9:08 PM on February 17, 2007


I don't feel sorry for the scammer, but maybe for the artists and actors who are actually producing the work the baiter is requesting.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:08 PM on February 17, 2007


Someone get the networks on this. I'd love to catch the weekly "Nigerian Email Scam Theater Presents:". Or perhaps the Royal Deposed African Prince Choir.
posted by griphus at 9:08 PM on February 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ugh.
posted by delmoi at 9:10 PM on February 17, 2007


After reading part one, I do feel slightly bad for the scammer's side of the transaction. Summary: Scam baiter requests that scammer carve his head out of wood, sends pictures of his head, and the scammer, quite stunningly, accomplishes this task. I mean, someone really did carve the guy's head out of a block of wood. And mailed it to the scam-baiter.

Then, the scam-baiter strangely goes to quite some lengths concocting a story about the sculpture being damaged by squirrels. It doesn't make much sense.

Having them tape a comedy sketch is one thing, but getting real, physical goods hand-crafted and delivered is quite another. Someone isn't getting paid for spending a couple weeks whittling a head out of wood.
posted by odinsdream at 9:13 PM on February 17, 2007


Yeah, I dunno. If this had been arranged by someone who actually had been scammed, I might feel it was a little more deserved. As is, it feels like making beggars scramble for spare change. OMG they're so poor they'll do anything!
posted by dreamsign at 9:15 PM on February 17, 2007


Well, since they were looking to steal money from a stranger, it's more like OMG, they're so utterly greedy they'll do anything.

I have no room in my heart to sympathize with scammers who were forced to do arts and crafts and amateur theater when they could be better spending their time lying and stealing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:26 PM on February 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


If the original email from Nigeria had hit some naive grandmother instead of this guy and they had taken the last of her savings, you wouldn't be feeling so bad for the poor scammer. He was attempting to steal significant sums of money from randomly chosen people. The fact that he had to commission works from artists as part of his attempted theft is not reason enough to give this thief sympathy.
posted by aburd at 9:30 PM on February 17, 2007


Why not just have them do the Spam sketch?
posted by hal9k at 9:31 PM on February 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


I love how they say their lines, as if they're listing things off.
"-No
-He is not dead
-Norwegian Blue
-Remarkable bird
-LOVELY PLUMAGE"
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:36 PM on February 17, 2007


Well, since they were looking to steal money from a stranger, it's more like OMG, they're so utterly greedy they'll do anything.

Natch, AZ, I'm not ignoring that. I just don't understand how the MeFi community can rally around causes like overrepresentation in prisons -- people who did crimes -- because of root causes like poverty. And in the next breath say Huh, dumb scammers got it comin.

As I said, different if you did get scammed. This just seems pathetic.
posted by dreamsign at 9:38 PM on February 17, 2007


That's a good point, aburd, and it's how I feel about self-defence laws and would-be assailants. I guess I just feel that these guys are so harmless -- but desperate -- it's sadistic to take advantage of that desperation. Correct me if I'm wrong. I'd be interested to see numbers on people who actually fall for Nigerian scammers.
posted by dreamsign at 9:42 PM on February 17, 2007


The link to Artists Against 419 and their bandwidth strategy against fake banks is pretty interesting.

The fact that he had to commission works from artists

...who were probably working for a piece of the money that never came. That's the only part that felt wrong.
posted by mediareport at 9:42 PM on February 17, 2007


Dreamsign, I do not reccomend you read this thread.(NSFW)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:43 PM on February 17, 2007


I just don't understand how the MeFi community can rally around causes like overrepresentation in prisons -- people who did crimes -- because of root causes like poverty. And in the next breath say Huh, dumb scammers got it comin.

You do have a valid point, dreamsign. I'm still in the "I hate email scammers" group, but your comment has made me think.
posted by amyms at 9:45 PM on February 17, 2007


Well, there is a difference between sending someone to jail and making them act out Monty Python.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:46 PM on February 17, 2007


dreamsign, be sure to read their "Ethics of Scambaiting" page; they address your objections directly. Particularly the "harmless" thing.
posted by mediareport at 9:46 PM on February 17, 2007


I just feel that these guys are so harmless

They are not harmless. They are criminals. We don't know who they may have scammed already. You are assuming that they have not perpetrated the scam on others.

We do know that they are committing a crime here. Its called conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The crime begins the minute they contact the target. This is real crime, crime that costs millions of people millions of dollars every year.

They are fraudsters and deserve to go to prison, but are beyond the reach of the courts. The fact that they were manipulated into doing things that we consider ridiculous doesn't make them any less of criminals. The fact that relatively we are rich and they are poor does not give them the right to attempt to take money from those amongst us that are gullible.

If this stops them from doing the same thing to someone less aware, more power to them.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:53 PM on February 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Harmless? You people are crazy. These scammers have stolen MILLIONS of dollars and ruined the lives of countless (admittedly very dumb) people. They're not harmless.

op, what Ironmouth said.
posted by dobbs at 9:54 PM on February 17, 2007


I just feel that these guys are so harmless -- but desperate -- it's sadistic to take advantage of that desperation.

Dreamsign, I really think you're confusing "desperate" and "greedy," especially when comparing these guys with beggars and all... These guys are attempting to commit a crime. Why should I feel bad for them at all? (On preview, what Ironmouth said)
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:56 PM on February 17, 2007


This one is good too. He makes them laboriously copy London street maps out by hand.
posted by dydecker at 9:56 PM on February 17, 2007


That's much more thorough than what I was expecting, merdiareport. Thanks for that. They do address many of my concerns. (in particular, I was expecting stats on scammers in general, but thought it erroneous to lump these obvious Nigerians in with them -- but they go on to address them specifically)

I think I've seen too much desperation to begrudge most people from trying to get ahead by legal or illegal means. But the page you linked to makes a good case for these people being more perpetrators than victims, themselves.

I consider myself schooled.

on preview: CitrusFreak12 -- you don't call someone trying to feed themselves through theft "greedy". I thought these guys were a joke to everybody. Didn't realize anyone actually fell for them.
posted by dreamsign at 9:59 PM on February 17, 2007


Ironmouth, I addressed the know that they are committing a crime here element in my original comment. No need for melodrama.
posted by dreamsign at 10:02 PM on February 17, 2007


They were really enthusiastic; you have to give them that.

But yes, what Ironmouth said.
posted by kdar at 10:06 PM on February 17, 2007


CitrusFreak12 -- you don't call someone trying to feed themselves through theft "greedy".

Using email scams and wire deposits and all that in an effort to get money in order to buy your next meal doesn't seem very feasible to me, dreamsign.

Via that FAQ you stated you already read:
Using internet cafes costs money. Those poor starving Nigerians who can’t afford to feed their family also can’t afford to use internet cafes.

It is the better educated Nigerians who are able to speak some English. While we may laugh at the way they mangle it (how well can you write in another language?) they wouldn’t be able to speak it at all if they weren’t somewhat better off than many of the rest of their countrymen.
However, if you could explain how you know this to be the case, then by all means, please do.

These scammers ask for (what I would consider to be) huge sums of money. Last time I checked, a loaf of bread didn't coast thousands of dollars.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:10 PM on February 17, 2007


On reading through the comments thus far (even though dreamsign made me stop and think) I have to say I agree with Ironmouth whole-heartedly.
posted by amyms at 10:10 PM on February 17, 2007


Ironmouth, et al -- the key is harm, not illegality. The harm case is made. The illegality case is stupid.
posted by dreamsign at 10:11 PM on February 17, 2007


Also, what Citrus Freak just said.
posted by amyms at 10:11 PM on February 17, 2007


The performers are actually pretty good. A cattier and more forgiving person than me (or the prankster) might tell the scammers that the jig is up, but here's a little money for your time in a nice envelope sent via air mail.

However, that would only make sense if they'd stop scamming afterwards. And so.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:19 PM on February 17, 2007


Via that FAQ you stated you already read

This conversation is not proceeding in good faith.

You used the term greedy. I disagreed.
I read the FAQ. I recanted (for specific reasons) . I also explained why your characterization had not made sense to me originally.
You bring up the FAQ to slam why I had a problem with the term.

Enough.
posted by dreamsign at 10:20 PM on February 17, 2007


Why is the illegality case stupid? You give no reason why. We live under laws. Those laws say that one should not attempt to commit fraud. These people engaged in a conspiracy to commit fraud. Either persons who engage in conspiracy to commit wire fraud should go to jail or not. I prefer to live in a world where that crime is punished, whether or not the persons involved were manipulated into engaging in a Monty Python sketch or not.

It is unfortunate that there are people poor enough that they feel the need to commit crime (although the upthread assumptions that the persons are poor are essentially racist, as we have no idea why these persons are doing it and are assuming they are doing it because they come from a country with a lower GDP.)

However, a crime committed by a poor person should not be excused. It may be a warning that there are persons out there who need help, but that does not mean that the law should not apply to them as much as it might to a criminal with better means. Crime is still crime, no matter who commits it.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:36 PM on February 17, 2007


see: jaywalking.

You're either disingenuous, or just haven't really thought this through. Or, to give the BOTD, you really believe that every law is worthwhile till struck down or repealed. In which case I guess you hate marijuana consumption, too. Harm makes a much better case than mere illegality, IMHO, but YMMV.
posted by dreamsign at 10:42 PM on February 17, 2007


see: jaywalking.

*Pops popcorn for a major derailing alert*

Yikes, dreamsign, you've lost me now... Email scams are hardly comparable to jaywalking... Email scams have VICTIMS.
posted by amyms at 10:46 PM on February 17, 2007


Yes, amyms, due to HARM. For godsakes. I'm out. /derail
posted by dreamsign at 10:52 PM on February 17, 2007


You bring up the FAQ to slam why I had a problem with the term.

No, I cited a source in order to show you that your claims were inaccurate.

You attempted to justify what these people are doing by saying that they are doing it in an effort to feed themselves.

I expressed my own doubts about the validity of this claim, then showed you two parts from the FAQ which address your claim as well.

What is the problem? The assertion that these people are scamming in order to put food on the table is highly, highly unlikely. So if these are not "desperate" people, who are commiting criminals acts "in order to feed themselves," what is it that you are trying to defend?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:54 PM on February 17, 2007


Crime is still crime, no matter who commits it.

And that is why dreamsign says that the criminality of the act isn't really the important part. Because, of course, even you don't believe what you just wrote, Ironmouth. At least I hope you don't. You'd have to agree that there's a difference between a child committing a crime and an adult committing a crime, no? How about someone with mental illness, or serious mental retardation? Even beyond that, of course, we try to draw a distinction between the character of criminal offenders.

If I send someone an email telling them that if they give me a million dollars I wont mutate their DNA with my evil mind beams, do you really think I should be punished as sternly as someone with a well established, well planned, and effective scam operation? Of course not. Yet, we both committed a crime.
posted by Doug at 11:01 PM on February 17, 2007


Legally, for a crime to be committed, one must have the both the actus reus, or action and mens rea, or mental state necessary to commit the crime. It is most definitely not a criminal act when someone lacks either. So if someone hooks my arm up to a nerve stimulator and stimulates my nerves so I pull the trigger on a gun lined up on another human being, I have not committed a criminal act. The same goes for the mentally ill and a young child incapable of forming the state of mind needed to commit a crime.

Even beyond that, of course, we try to draw a distinction between the character of criminal offenders.

Not in the guilt phase we don't. A person is either guilty of a crime or not. Mitigating circumstances do not have any impact on the guilt phase. In the sentencing phase we draw distinctions between child and adult.

If I send someone an email telling them that if they give me a million dollars I wont mutate their DNA with my evil mind beams, do you really think I should be punished as sternly as someone with a well established, well planned, and effective scam operation?

Whether or not the crime resulted in monetary loss should play a part in the sentencing phase, but not in the guilt phase. That's how it is and generally how it should be. Those who are working harder at it and make it work should be punished more. But I do think anyone who sends emails of the sort you describe, given enough prosecutorial resources, should be found guilty of a crime.

Note that if you sent that email to everyone in the US, I'd bet someone would send you all the money they had. The same goes for these 419 scammers. An ex-congressman got caught up in a 419 scam.

Although you wouldn't fall for it, thousands have fallen for the exact same approach that these scammers are using. They should be punished and for that reason I have no sympathy for those scammers who are manipulated into acting out Python sketches rather than being sent to jail.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:28 PM on February 17, 2007


If you read the story about the congressman, he fell three times for a "black money" scam in which he was told by Nigerian scammers that they needed a special ink to take off a black coating on millions of dollars so that it could be used. To the tune of $3 million dollars. It seems like we are all so smart and could never fall for this. But even sophisticated people do. This guy was a good friend of Bill Clinton and his son has been dating Chelsea for some time. He was an attorney, I believe, as he later ran for attorney general of Pennsylvania. He got so sucked in he victimized others.

People who commit these crimes should go to jail.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:38 PM on February 17, 2007


Children are convicted of crimes every day. Their sentences are, for the most part, much more lenient than those of adults. The same is true of the mentally challenged. In fact, aren't some individuals classified as guilty but mentally ill? Hmm.

Whether or not the crime resulted in monetary loss would also play a part in the guilt phase, as you put it, because of all the intermediary steps the defendant has to take prior to even being put on trial. That is how it should be. Police, judges, and DA's have brains, and not just legal code.

And now, for the hell of it, I'll commit a crime. Ironmouth, I've just sent a satellite, bought from the ghost of Ayn Rand, into space. It will open a space-time warp and release an evil, Cthulhian fungus under your left big toe nail. Send me 10 dollars and a piece of toast and all of this can stop.
posted by Doug at 11:44 PM on February 17, 2007


Here's a video where a heart surgeon, who was scammed for over 300,000 was nailed by ABC news. This is a highly educated person. People need to be protected from these people.

I can tell you that if police and DA's got a hold of the people who were manipulated in the above video, they would attempt to put them away for a very, very long time. I have zero sympathy for them. I know you think this is a joking matter, but one look at the video and the anger the man displays makes it clear that things you think are funny and minor are real and harm real people.

Whether or not the crime resulted in monetary loss would also play a part in the guilt phase, as you put it, because of all the intermediary steps the defendant has to take prior to even being put on trial.

No. The only question is whether or not there is enough prosecutorial resources to go after people. The things that these scammers do would result in a long prison sentence, regardless of what they do.

Guilty but mentally ill is an unfortunate legal device resulting from too much publicity given to the rare occasions when a person is mentally ill but commits a heinous crime. Law and order lawmakers wanted a few cheap votes and passed such devices into law. They should be repealed.

The fact is that people are falling for ridiculous ideas like your mind ray all of the time and it is costing them millions. I have no sympathy for those who would prey on others like the scammers above. None.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:02 AM on February 18, 2007


Good for the 419 Eaters! Scammers wasting time = scammers with less time to bait others.

What makes those defending the 419 scammers (or mitigating their actions with, "but they're poor!") assume that
a) they are stealing for survival, especially after this long, and
b) they aren't using their millions to fund organized crime or corruption that victimizes other Nigerians?
posted by Drop Daedalus at 12:03 AM on February 18, 2007


I don't find people being scammed very funny. I find the notion that a crime is a crime and that all criminals are the same regardless of the harm they cause ridiculous. These individuals, insofar as they are the perpetrators of successful scams and thus causing harm, don't deserve much sympathy. It is precisely because they harm, and not because they break some law, that makes them deserve this ridicule. That's all I'm saying. Perhaps we agree more than we think. Please don't have me arrested.
posted by Doug at 12:18 AM on February 18, 2007


holycrap. furiousxgeorge's link is totally un-fucking-believable!
posted by sergeant sandwich at 12:42 AM on February 18, 2007


Holy shit... this one had me hooked to the end.
posted by the other side at 12:54 AM on February 18, 2007


The first 10 seconds of the reenactment were hilarious but watching the whole sketch play out (waiting for the ending line) was very difficult.
posted by beerbajay at 1:14 AM on February 18, 2007


Metafilter: someone isn't getting paid for spending a couple weeks whittling a head out of wood.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:18 AM on February 18, 2007


No good will come of this.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:22 AM on February 18, 2007


Looking at the trophy room (NSFW) kinda squicks me out (warning: blood and cock): page after page of black faces, and parts beyond. 419eater says they're not racist, but you'd expect at least one caucasian to make an ass out of himself for money.

More to the point, there's a lot of degrading shit in there. It'd be one thing if you could expect the people in the pictures were the actual scammers themselves. Nobody suggests that the carved head in the original link was made by the scammer, so how hard would it be to pay some other guy to flash his junk for $20 in some third world country. I'd say that the chances are pretty good a lot of this ends up trickling down to the really desperate.
posted by logicpunk at 1:51 AM on February 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I go back and forth about this. There's a part of me that loves the creativity of the 419-baiters (the wooden Commodore 64 was amazing). And yeah, these scammers are dangerous guys. Taking up as much of their time and resources as possible is a good thing.

But having said that... you know, basic human dignity? I think we all sort of know, deep inside, that this stuff wouldn't be as popular if it were done on other Americans.

I just read this link, pretty much in its entirety. The comments were fascinating, in that watching-a-car-crash way. The "Butch" character invented by the poster became an excuse for saying truly horrible things, both for the original poster and, eventually, for everyone else in the forum. Something is very wrong.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:22 AM on February 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Logicpunk: Is this guy white enough for ya?
posted by strawberryviagra at 3:45 AM on February 18, 2007


After reading a little more of their site, I admit I was premature in praising the scambaiters. The Monty Python skit is great, but some of the other content is flat-out sick, and reflects poorly on the 419 Eaters. They'd eliminate most of the scammer sympathy if their site contained more Monty Python and none of the LOL BUTTSECKS.

I think we all sort of know, deep inside, that this stuff wouldn't be as popular if it were done on other Americans.
Not true, as long as the other Americans were obvious scam artists. If someone managed to play equally elaborate, humiliating pranks on the Enron crooks, I think it would easily attract a much larger audience than the 419 site.
posted by Drop Daedalus at 3:57 AM on February 18, 2007



Logicpunk: Is this guy white enough for ya?


No, goddammit. I demand pure Aryan scambaiting.


But, yeah, you found a white guy. Kudos. They say that 50-55% of the scammers are from Africa, but from looking through the trophy room, 100% of the pictures are of black people. Except maybe this guy.
posted by logicpunk at 4:30 AM on February 18, 2007


A couple of breathtaking efforts -

Scammer carves an inticate replica of a Wallace and Gromit model, with removeable parts, then a C64 keyboard.

Scammer copies out 250 pages of a Harry potter novel, by hand.

You feel bad at the effort they made, but I guess it shows the lengths they will go to to get your cash.
posted by fire&wings at 4:33 AM on February 18, 2007


Regardless of whether or not the lengths the baiters go to are appropriate, I do find it absolutely fascinating that there's a such thriving baiting subculture, and that the baiting continues to work - you'd think that word would have spread amongst scammers that, if someone requests a photo of you with your cock out or a wooden model of a Commodore 64, you're probably not going to cash in. I wonder if, in some cases, the scammers being baited smell a rat, and continue for the fun of it (I haven't read enough of the site to see)?
posted by jack_mo at 4:34 AM on February 18, 2007


Here's a video where a heart surgeon, who was scammed for over 300,000 was nailed by ABC news. This is a highly educated person. People need to be protected from these people.

Yes, I demand protection from highly-educated but gullible heart surgeons. Unless Dick Cheney is one of their patients. In that case, I have a deal for them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:44 AM on February 18, 2007


I think we need to remember that, often, the dictum 'you can't con an honest man' applies here. A lot of these scams operate on the pretence that the scammer and the scammee are colluding on some mutually-rewarding, possibly borderline-illegal undertaking, with heaps of filthy lucre awaiting at the end. Sure, not always, but my sympathy for someone who loses thousands in the belief that they will be recompensed with hundreds of thousands of dollars of stolen money from a dead Nigerian prince is qualified, at best.
posted by RokkitNite at 6:08 AM on February 18, 2007


jack_mo: I had wondered the same thing. How could they continue to be fooled?

I wonder whether there isn't a separate group which sells "money making opportunities" to these people. Give us $100, and we will give you a list of marks opportunities.

It isn't exactly the same thing, but I was once scammed by someone claiming to have found a lost pet I had advertised. That was for a couple hundred dollars, and afterward I felt ready to commit murder. I think I would rather have been mugged, quite honestly. Anyway, I can't imagine how I would feel losing my life savings to a scam.

All in all, I think the crime they're attempting to commit is very bad, but the penalty they're paying isn't so bad. A cheap life lesson.

I second Drop Daedalus.
posted by JamesToast at 6:16 AM on February 18, 2007


One has to be pretty much a damn fool to fall for the 419 scam in 2007, and being a damn fool is no barrier to becoming a heart surgeon and a positive asset to becoming a congressman. Scambaiting is funny.

Either way, there's plenty of schadenfreude to be had.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:37 AM on February 18, 2007


'you can't con an honest man'

Well, generally speaking, yes. There are variants on the scam that go for sympathy rather than greed: "please help pay for my poor little daughter's operation", etc. That's how to con an honest man.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:40 AM on February 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Earlier in the thread, I read some opinions that there is not really a crime because no one was harmed.

Does that logic extend to DWIs? In well over 90 percent of all DWI arrests, no one was harmed. Does the mean that as long as drunk drivers don't cause any harm, then they should not really be penalized?
posted by flarbuse at 8:20 AM on February 18, 2007


The problem with "scamming the scammers" is that it is fundamentally unethical; it's taking advantage of someone else (their greed, their ignorance) for personal gain (pleasure at watching them dance for you). The only defense is that they are more unethical than you which, unfortunately, is not much of a defense.
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:15 AM on February 18, 2007


"...in fact the rodent was an African Tree squirrel (Helioscirurus sp.) and could only have come from your part of the world, unless of course it had escaped from a local zoo, which I find very unlikely as we have no motorbikes in the city."

Priceless.
posted by ericb at 9:31 AM on February 18, 2007


I'd like to talk to the Monty Python guys and see what they think about this.
posted by papakwanz at 9:38 AM on February 18, 2007


Doug,

Crimes are the same. It is punishments that are different. For something to be a crime all that is needed are the elements. What I'm saying is that where our system decides who gets what punishment is in the penalty phase of a trial. This is because of its basic nature, which goes back 2000 years or more.

More importantly, I have no sympathy for the scammers. They are actually perpetrating crimes which harm people to the tune of millions of dollars. The activities which they pursue harm far more than the rubes who get hurt.

you can't con an honest man' applies here

First, this is not true, most of the scams I get in my inbox are sob stories, the husband was killed by bad guys, family in trouble etc.

More importantly, we don't measure whether something is a crime because of the sanctity of the victim. I'd suspect we all are far less than righteous in our daily conduct and have much to be ashamed of. Such an attitude also ignores the more important human cost--loved ones and dependents with no guilt at all are affected by this. The scam hurts more than just those who fall for it. Society has a powerful interest in protecting those.

Imagine a justice system where the punishment for the crime depends on the sanctity of the victim. Not a place I would like to live.

The justice system in the United States is built solidly on the assumption that it is run by fallible humans, not god. We can't measure the crime the scammers in the video above by the fact that only dumb or greedy people are involved. That's why I have no sympathy for the scammers being manipulated here.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:50 AM on February 18, 2007


"....Nigeria is still ranked as one of the most corrupt countries on earth. U.S. citizens lose approximately $2 billion ($2,000 million) a year to Nigerian scams -- be it credit card scams, insurance scams, or 419 scam letters, or counterfeiting," which totals about "two and one-half times the value of our total U.S. exports to Nigeria."

Nov. '99, Robert L. Mallet, Deputy Secretary of Commerce
posted by asok at 5:53 AM on February 19, 2007


From the New Yorker:
"(Last year, a Nigerian comic released a song that taunted Westerners with the lyrics “I go chop your dollar. I go take your money and disappear. Four-one-nine is just a game. You are the loser and I am the winner.”) The scammers, who often operate in crime rings, are known as “yahoo-yahoo boys,” because they frequently use free Yahoo accounts. Many of them live in a suburb of Lagos called Festac Town. Last year, one scammer in Festac Town told the Associated Press, “Now I have three cars, I have two houses, and I’m not looking for a job anymore.”
posted by Megafly at 12:18 PM on February 19, 2007


Question for MeFi lawyers/legal scholars/armchair lawyers out there: Isn't the scam-baiter here also guilty of wire fraud? IANAL, but it seems unlikely to me that "well, he was trying to defraud me" is a legitimate defense for one's own fraudulent activity.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:18 PM on February 19, 2007


« Older Surrealish sites   |   AutismTown Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments