The Bitter  Network Administrator

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How Much Sympathy Does a Fool Deserve
by Douglas Chick

As long as there is greed, there will be conmen and suckers. Greed motivates the con and the mark, and both are equally to blame. My case in point is the Nigerian e-mail scam.

Hundreds of victims have recently fallen for a variation of this con, in fact, 13 Billion US dollars worth to date.  It is also referred to as "Advance Fee Fraud", "419 Fraud" (Four-One-Nine) after the relevant section of the Criminal Code of Nigeria, and "The Nigerian Connection" (mostly in Europe). However, it is usually called plain old "419" even by the Nigerians themselves.

The Scam operates as follows: the target receives an unsolicited fax, email, or letter concerning Nigeria containing either a money laundering or other illegal proposal OR you may receive a Legal and Legitimate business proposal by normal means. Common variations on the Scam include "overinvoiced" or "double invoiced" oil or other supply and service contracts where your Bad Guys want to get the overage out of Nigeria; crude oil and other commodity deals; a "bequest" left you in a will; and "money cleaning" where your Bad Guy has a lot of currency that needs to be "chemically cleaned" before it can be used and he needs the cost of the chemicals. Or the victim will just be stiffed on a legitimate goods or services contract...the variations are very creative and virtually endless. What every letter does have in common is that if you help them you will make a lot of money. This is how every con begins; the victim believes that they will become rich at someone else’s misfortune. And of course it ends with the scams victim giving up his or her money and receiving nothing in return. What do all of these victims have in common; GREED.

Click Here to see all the difference variants of this letter. 

 One victim who went to Africa to hunt down his fortune was captured by his con artists and tortured, according to the British report. Another, a 72-year-old Prague man who had lost his life savings, allegedly stormed into the city’s Nigerian embassy last month and shot two people, killing 50-year-old Nigerian consul Michael Lekara Wayid.


The newest scam to replace the Nigerian e-mail scam is the Iraqi e-mail scam. This scam has an added twist making it more dangerous; these scammers claim to be Iraqi Christians who are trying to get their dead Iraqi Christian father’s money out of the country and needs your help. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve targeted the entire Bush Administration on this one. 

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