back to article Son of 419 victim contacts El Reg

It's sad to report that amid all the merriment to be had at the expense of Nigerian 419 fraudsters and their improbable tales of MARIAM ABACHA, Congolese banks stuffed with illicit loot and other entertaining yarns concerning riches beyond the wildest dreams of avarice, there are all too real people ready and willing to believe …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    And there I was looking for the bit where he was asking you for a mere 5k to help him out. I'm totally jaded :(

    Sad indeed.

  2. Tom

    Am I the only one

    who read this as nothing more than a subtle variation on the ol' 419 scam. How much did you send him?

  3. Chris Walker
    Paris Hilton

    Colour me cynical...

    But this just strikes me as 419+

    Nobody really believes they're due to receive a suit case full of Nigerian cash from the long lost estate of [suitably Nigerian name]... well, not unless you're really, really, really STUPID.

    So I wouldn't be surprised if this was the next reworking of the great 419 game; play on people's humanity. Stop the suicide. Help raise funds so he can pay back the cheques.

    Paris. Because she really IS that stupid.

  4. caffeine addict Silver badge


    So... how many of us read that and assumed that the writer and his "dad" were the scammers? Me? A cynic?

  5. Daniel Wilkie


    I too was looking for the "All we need is for you to lend us x" and now I don't know what to think and feel kind of guilty and kind of amused at the same time. I'm such a bad person :(

  6. Stephen

    mmm for real or secondary 419

    Is this a regular reader/commenter. I hate to be negative in this time of regret/upset but It would be nice to know...

  7. Iain

    Not the only ones

    Gotta agree with the posters above - this sounds like a 419 to me too.

  8. Jonathan McCulloch
    Paris Hilton

    You can't cheat an honest man

    There's a lot to be said for this maxim. I'm in marketing (spare me the vitriol, please), and I'm heartily sick of the "Success Peddlers" and their wares. You know the stuff I mean -- buy this $97 downloadable ebook and you can make millions practically overnight, live in some exotic location in a mansion, drive fast cars and have pina-colada served to you poolside by even faster women who have improbably large breasts and flexible legs, to boot.

    What's the difference?


    In both cases you've got someone wanting to make something for nothing.

    What they're both selling is hope -- and it's hope sold by appealing to greed.

    Paris? Because she lives the lifestyle the Success Peddlers promise.

    -- Jon

  9. Jack Harrer

    Re: Colour me cynical...

    //But this just strikes me as 419+

    Rather 2.0 like Web 2.0 - more colourful but the same crap underneath...

  10. Geoff Johnson

    Sorry cant advise.

    "...we dont have any other way except to suicide. could you please suggest us what step we have to take now..."

    People get into trouble in the UK for giving advice on how to commit suicide.

  11. Iain Purdie

    I confess...

    ...the poor English also led me to believe it was a scam. Perhaps it is. But a preacher? Hang on...

    *looks up Bible online*

    *checks "sins"*

    Yup. Greed is definitely still in there.

  12. Mark Allen

    Which country?

    IMHO this is clearly is a 419+

    Surely, if you had sent $50000 dollars to someone, you would know which country that was in. South Africa or Gambia? There is a rather large distance between these two countries.

    If it's real... then a Preacher has learnt about the cost of greed. Should be a few sermons to be made from that.

  13. Diane Miller

    @Chris Walker

    In my heart of hearts, I agree with you that only the deeply stupid fall for 419 scams. Nonetheless, the fact that these scams are *still* going on just proves that there are a very large number of deeply stupid people in the world. The Internet turns us into one large village, with an enormous number of village idiots.

  14. Slaine
    Paris Hilton

    thats a 419er and I claim my prize

    1: "pay them back 4 times greater they lend" - is not grammatically correct. Dead givaway examples numbers 2 - 9 also exist but I'll let you look for them yourselves. I've got far more interesting things to look at.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Remember me of...

    ... send me money or this bunny will die :-)

  17. Internet ToughGuy

    What did you expect

    The only good things about 419 scams is that they target the greedy. This guy obviously thought he could get paid a hundredfold for nothing, and got caught. I'm sorry his family feel so bad about it, but if you win a lottery you never entered, or try to assist someone doing something you know to be dodgy, then you can't really expect sympathy when it bites you.

  18. Edwin


    I too, would like to see some El Reg comment on the credibility of this email. On the one hand, nobody's asked for cash (yet). On the other hand, what better way of obtaining cash from churches than by bemoaning the fact that some rascal has stolen from their brethren...

  19. Mike Crawshaw
    Dead Vulture

    I'm not so sure... @ cynics

    I don't actually think that this is a "419 mark II".

    It's been sent to an online IT rag - not individuals. Not the best move if you're wanting gullible types, but a reasonable move if you want advice, especially considering the number of associated topics El Reg has covered over the years.

    It doesn't ask for money - just advice.

    It includes contact details.

    I reckon it's either genuine, or a publicity hoax ("let's see if they'll fall for this, ho ho"), but it doesn't come over as a "please send me money" type. Assuming it's been reproduced in full...

    Assuming it's genuine, the guy's dad has been an idiot. But remember that thousands of people fell for this scam in *this* country, where we have ready access to information about the scam in question, and scams in general - in India that's not as much the case, and the money involved is worth a lot more than it is here - so the dad would have been less aware of the dangers than a comparable person here, and the rewards would have seemed greater.

    Sad. If it's genuine and not a variation on "for every time you forward this email some poor child in Botswana will receive 0.001p". Which is possible.

    Dead Vulture cos I know if I'd lent somebody £thousands and found out they'd pissed it away on some scam, they'd be ending up in a similar state!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People do get taken in

    I always wonder how much money a 419 scammer actually makes in a year, how many people do get taken in and what % of the income is taxable.

    Of course naturally, after being scammed for alot of money your first reaction is to send a bulk email to everybody in your address book.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Group gullibility

    In some ways, the lenders are as guilty of blind greed as the borrower. Or of a reprehensible excess of trust. Did they ask what yer man wanted the money for? Could none of them see that the whole escapade was as likely to result in profits for all as for a bear to turn R.C. and the Pope to be videoed taking a dump in the woods?

    And if they didn't, that's their own fault. They gambled and lost.

  22. Stewart Rice

    @Mike Crawshaw

    I doubt it was sent only to El Reg. What's more likely is that even El Reg is not immune from bulk spam, since they give their email addresses out freely (and rightly so, given the market they cater to).

    In the extremely unlikely event that this email IS genuine, then El Reg did the right thing. Else they might be forced to scam some of us to recoup the money they sent out to the unfortunate moron and his son (who appears to be trying to recoup his losses from a 419 by perpertrating a 419 - recursive loop anyone).

    Of course, there's always the distinct possibility that one of those scam-baiting websites has actually paid off, and instead of replying to a 419, they passed on the address of another 419er and let them duke it out...

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Googling text suggests not a scam

    Googling some unique text from the message suggests it is either not a scam (or a scam in its very early stages.)

  24. Elmer Phud Silver badge


    How many people 'invested' in this?

    Did none of them just stop for a moment and think? It would appear that they have all been a wee bit greedy in believing that there was loads of money for nothing. It isn't just the father who is to blame (if, that is, it isn't a double 419 scam)

  25. Rob


    either a 419 or really rather funny, seriously, who believes this crap, actually my mate fell for something considerably less serious, but just as blatently obvious, he was selling a phone on ebay and received an email from someone saying 'cancel the auction and we'll settle outside, this is normal ebay procedure' the idiot did just that

    then he received an email which looked like it was from paypal, saying 'give us a tracking number to show its been posted and we'll release the funds'

    being the utterly IT illiterate nonce-face he is, he didn't pay any attention to the actual address/server the message was from, and instead just looked at what was in the header / what the sender filled their name in as (i assume everyone on here knows the difference)

    as soon as i looked at it i was like 'well thats not from pay pal you fool'

    long story short, he sent his phone to NIGERIA!! before he'd received any money, obviously ebay didn't give a frig as they didn't sell it over ebay, I thought the whole thing was hilarious

  26. Garry Mills


    It was all going so well until "receive millions" in return

    If it's too good... etc...

  27. Rik Ryder
    Jobs Halo

    a 419er who is the victim of his own 419 scam?!?

    lol, a 419 scam where the 419er is playing the victim of a 419 scam... i've heard it all now! what's next? a referral to the 419eater dot com website? Now, where did I leave my cheque book??

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No sympathy.

    Neither his greed nor his stupidity should be rewarded - or given any sympathy.

    People that rely on get-rich-quick schemes are simply greedy and lazy.

    People that also believe any old shit that gets emailed/posted to them is simply stupid.

    They only good thing will be if they do all commit suicide it will make a nice entry for the Darwin Awards.

  29. frymaster

    @Jonathan McCulloch

    Oh, I bet there are _lots_ of techniques for cheating honest men... it's just no-one's ever had to develop them, and the alternative is easier!

    These kind of scams trade off a certain arrogance towards countries seen as "backwards" - that with a small injection of bribe money you can embezzle millions. The question is whether the supply of arrogant greedy predjudiced people is going down or not - I wouldn't have thought so.

    It _must_ still be working, else why would people still do it? My mate got one through the post last year, another mate's dad got one the year before - unlike with the email spam version, this must cost real money to send. I know someone who had an aquaintance caught out by one of these about 15-20 years ago (ie before they were well known.) He failed to convince her that it was a scam. At least these days it doesn't take much research to find that out.

  30. Niall

    Who wanted to be a millionaire

    You've been conned out of a significant amount of money and are feeling suicidal do you contact:

    A) The Police.

    B) The Samaritans.

    C) El Reg

    D) 419Eater.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Sell your dad Darwin award....

    I might sounds harsh but... sell your dad Darwin award as he has a very good chance to get it! (Ok, he's not dead yet but one of the people hoping to multiply by 4 their money in a few weeks will probably take care of that!).

  32. david g
    Paris Hilton


    Show us the headers !

    Paris - something to do with suckers.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Next Letter?

    Wonder what that will start like? please let us know how many emails you get before you get the inevitable "can we have".

    419.1 definitely.

    To the people greedy and stupid enough to fall for them - its a simple Darwinian process. Sympathy? Yeah right.

    Paris - because I am really surprised that she hasn't answered every single 419'er with a cheque....

  34. Steve
    Thumb Down

    @ Slaine

    "1: "pay them back 4 times greater they lend" - is not grammatically correct. Dead givaway "

    That doesn't differentiate him from the average schoolchild - or the average plod, unfortunately.

    I still say it's dodgy though - why is he writing to El Reg? If he reads the site, he would know that there is bugger all that can be done by Vulture Central.

    If he doesn't read the site, why would he be mailing you? Random techno-illiterate scam victims write to consumer watchdogs and high-profile mainstream media. They are not going to write to a site whose mainstream image appears to be that of a Hardcore Lesbian Techno-filth news journal.

    I don't even know what Hardcore Lesbian Techno-filth would entail, but now I've thought of the name, I want some!

  35. bobbles31

    Fool and his money @Not so sure

    All the best scams don't start out looking like scams. If they did look like scams then they wouldn't be very good ones would they?

    There are probably a million ways that this could go but I'll give you an example:

    "You should go to the police."

    "But my Dad borrowed money from the police, fortuantely, only a small amount from them so they are not too upset at the moment. They only lent us $500. Perhaps if you could lend us that much we could pay them off and they would be willing to help us."

    And so the conversation and the extraction of the fools money begins.

    Mines the one with "CYNIC" in big white letters on the back.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Shut up you heartless gits.

    This man has not asked for money. This man is not going to get any money. If it was a scam, it has failed.

    But it may not be, in which case you're being really effing ignorant.

    And please give the "bad English = 419" a rest. It may be escaping of your notice, but they are speaking of very different English in India. The English appears to me to be from an Indo-European speaker, and has particular hallmark of North India, such as the phrase "the people who lent him money are not beleiving".

    All in all, it's a genuine enough looking email to get my sympathy, and I wish that the legal system could do more to stop these lamentable cases.

  37. Spleen

    Should be pointed out

    That 419s, unlike gambling and self-help books, are not merely a tax on the greedy and stupid. Numerous people have been killed by 419 scammers. Financial losses you can at least recover from, death you can't.

    Re Mike Crawshaw: I don't buy that people in developing countries are more susceptible to 419s than we are. They may not have heard about 419s specifically, but anyone who lives in anything more sophisticated than a sustenance agriculture economy should have learnt some variation of "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is" by the time they reached adulthood.

  38. Chris Walker

    Lack of suspicion detected!

    "It's been sent to an online IT rag - not individuals"

    The miracle, nay wonders, of BCC.

    Mine's the one with "Paranoia Rules!" picked out in sequens.

  39. Neil


    Personally I think this is another 419 scam however it raises an interesting point. Considering people are not sure about the legitimacy, and therefore more likely to fall for this kind of scam as it's playing on empathy as opposed to greed, perhaps that shows the general population in a positive light. The 419er on the other hand is shown to be stooping to new lows.

  40. John Moppett
    Black Helicopters


    AS a Christian I might JUST have swallowed this, until he said his Dad is a preacher. Having had a £1k+ E-Bay scam tried on me, by someone whose excuse was that he was a missionary, so had to go abroad, I vote 419!

  41. david

    Dear Sir,

    I am truly sorry to hear of your father's plight. The 419 scammers rely on the greed of stupid people and we are determined to bring them to book. Luckily I might be able to help because I have access to certain funds.

    I am the Overseas account manager of the Barclys bank of abidjan and the deposied government deposited several gazillon pounds with us. The account is now frozen and I need help of a receiving bank and a donation to pay for the lawyers to release the funds.

    Please send whatever cash you can to help support the campaign. Just 20,000GBP retain a lawyer for almost a month. I will DEFINITELY send you half a gazillion pounds when we have this sorted out

    As a show of good faith I am sending you some points to help you deal with scammers in the future:

    * If it seems too good to be true it probably is

    * Don't send money in response to dodgy emails

    * Don't be stupid

    * Keep your greed under control

    Please print this off and paste it to the cover of your chequebook for future reference.


    Mr Odinga Oginga

    Pastor of the Church of Tough Love

    and Overseas account manager of Barclys bank, Abidjan

    (well it worked once (twice if you count the visit to Gambia) and 20k would buy me my new motorbike)

  42. Jamie

    I have to agree with the first comment

    I was reading through and expecting by the end to see a plea for a small donation of some sort, say 1000-5000 USD.

    The one thing about all these scams is they always play on peoples greed.

  43. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    re:should be pointed out

    I don't buy it either considering where the scam originated from. Meanwhile, in a town near you, there are people buying 'perfume' from a man on the street. Yup, we're so much harder to catch out than those from 'developing countries'.

    Right- who fell for the 'buy to let' scam? Those Nigerians have a long way to go before they catch up with the finance companies.

  44. Harvey Trowell
    Thumb Up

    Nice one Lester

    "all too real"

  45. Stephen

    @ Crawshaw

    I'd like to go with you but...

    While he doesn't openly ask for money, it seems very 'beggy'. If it was a genuine reg reader (e.g the reg confirmed the user had an account and been reading the reg and commenting for many years then I'd probably be compelled to donate a little to help him out. Therefore... 419 suspicions my friend.

  46. robert cooke
    Thumb Down

    @ Mike Crawshaw

    "It's been sent to an online IT rag"

    IT RAG? please, a little more respect for El Reg.

  47. steogede

    The real giveaway

    Clearly a scam, but then I am sure Lester realised that. No preacher in India has access to $7,000 much less $70,000.

  48. GX5000
    Gates Horns


    I'm so glad I wasn't the only one...

    We are a nice informed bunch aren't we now...

    Or are we so jaded ?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Spleen

    Reference needed. As far as I know, 419 scammers haven't killed anyone. Sure some greedy people with criminal tendancies (after all, why else would you want to assist someone stealing from a bank) may have commited suicide to escape the shame but they were killed by their own greed not by the scammer.

  50. Fifi le flea


    >A) The Police.

    What would Sting do about it?

    obviously the answer is D) 419eater.

    I agree with the above that any response to this email would be a plea for funds to assist with further heart wrenching "children in peril" crap.

    Jolly Roger - cos the 419eater rules!


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