Saturday, March 11, 2006

Hard Drives for Nigeria

Nigeria is one of main sources for all sorts of Advance fee fraud (419) fraud scams. The Advance Fee scam is where a ruse is used to get a victim to send them money (nowadays normally wire-transfer) in anticipation of riches (or sometimes love) to come. The best known is the "Nigerian Letter," but the activity has mutated into romance, lottery, auction, check cashing, work at home and reshipping (as mentioned below) scams.

In a lot of the more recent 419 activity, the victim is tricked into involving themselves in criminal activity, whether it be forwarding stolen merchandise, or negotiating bogus financial transactions and sending the funds elsewhere.

419 is the criminal code for Advance Fee in Nigeria and they call their victims, Mugus. According to Wikipedia, 'Mugu' is a Nigerian Pidgin term which means 'fool'.

In fact in Nigerian popular music, a musician called Osofia has even done what is considered their anthem "I Go Chop your Dollar." Here are some of the lyrics:

"419 is just a game, you are the losers, we are the winners.

White people are greedy, I can say they are greedy White men, I will eat your dollars, will take your money and disappear.

419 is just a game, we are the masters, you are the losers."

For the video, click here.

419 (Advance Fee) is now done primarily via the internet via e-mail, instant messaging and in chat rooms. The fraudsters reportedly operate out of internet cafes in Nigeria.

Here is an interesting report involving Nigerian Fraud activity and shipping hard drives to Nigeria.

Can't say for sure, but I could speculate that they would be used in the 419 industry over there.

Hilary Bothma of the Oakland Tribune reports:

"A team of Oakland police officers, Secret Service agents and investigators from Hewlett Packard have recovered approximately $12,000 in hard drives that were about to be shipped to Nigeria as part of a package-forwarding scam.

Oakland police said they were contacted last week by HP's global security department about hard drives bought from the company with a stolen credit card and shipped to three Oakland addresses.

Oakland officers who contacted one of the recipients of the hard drives said he was "stunned" to find that his Nigerian friend, whom he met in a Yahoo chat room, was really a scam artist.
Police said the man, who preferred not to be identified, turned over two boxes of hard drives immediately and called them Wednesday to report that he wanted to return 10 more boxes.

According to police, the man's "friend" had used a stolen American Express account to purchase 120 desktop hard drives, with a value of about $100 each. The Oaklander was persuaded to receive the goods, reportedly told by his friend that shipping electronics directly to Nigeria would be risky and expensive.

The Oakland man, who works in a local Christian bookstore, planned to relabel the boxes and ship them to Nigeria himself, unaware that the parts were bought with a stolen credit card and that he risked being held liable.

Police said they do not suspect any of the three people who received the hard drives of any deliberate wrongdoing."

Here is the full story from the Oakland Tribune:

Hard drive-mailing scam cracked

419 Advance Fee activity has inspired an internet community dedicated to fighting their efforts. Many of the sites can be viewed courtesy of the 419 Coalition (US) on their links page.

If you have been a victim, or merely want to report activity, the 419 Coalition main page (linked above) is a wealth of information on how to do it anywhere in the world.


TC said...

I am a former relay operator for AT&T. I think it is appalling that such a company with integrity is making its relay operators perform scam calls because it's all about the money. I quit AT&T in March because after doing this for three years, I was getting stressed and disgusted and lost plenty of sleep. Has any merchant been a victim of Nigerian scammers via Internet Relay? If so, then please step forward, and name yourself. If you do this, we may be able to get a major network prime time news show to broadcast about the problem. But they won't do it because there are not enough victims coming forward.

click here!

TC said...
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