back to article 5 Nigerian gangs dominate Craigslist buyer scams

Just five Nigerian criminal gangs are behind a widespread type of fraud targeting sellers on Craigslist. The Lads from Lagos are going to considerable lengths of investing time and money in order to make their scams more plausible, according to a study by George Mason University researchers Damon McCoy and Jackie Jones. The …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet another reason

    To only accept cash, or use an escrow service like PayPal.

  2. CaptainBanjax


    Use Bitcoin.

  3. depicus

    How do banks still get away with this s**t...

    Why don't banks simply not clear cheques until they are 100% sure they are real ?

    Perhaps to protect their margins and save on the cost of employing somebody to actually check the cheques instead of just relying on customers to report fraud then refund them.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: How do banks still get away with this s**t...

      Plus surcharges.

  4. Evil Graham

    I don't need to worry about this

    I got an email from Mark Carney this week, he's the Governor of the Bank of England in case you didn't know.

    Apparently there's TWENTY MILLION SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS waiting for me to collect. So, in a couple of weeks I really don't think I'll be bothered if someone rips me off for the odd laptop.

  5. ravenviz

    Maybe scam baiting should become an officially backed activity to put off these fraudsters for good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ISIS too good for them

      No time to spend on these guys. Find address, call the BNP.

      1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

        Re: ISIS too good for them

        "No time to spend on these guys. Find address, call the BNP."

        Nice rascist shite, there.

        How many Nigerians are from Evangelical/Baptist churches?

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: ISIS too good for them

          Maybe he just meant Banque Nationale de Paris?

  6. Peter Simpson 1

    More than you asked for?

    You're about to get scammed. A legitimate buyer will try to talk you DOWN, not up!

    Timely tidbit:

    Just got an email "from" one of my friends, who's been robbed in Dubai of everything but his passport. His plane leaves in <8 hrs, but the hotel mgr won't let him leave and would I please send him $2500? Funny thing is that the IP of the computer that "he" used to send the email resolves to Nigeria...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Refugee from Windows

      Re: More than you asked for?

      My dog sitter sent me an email saying that she was stranded in a bus station in Amsterdam, Holland. All pretty good as half an hour earlier she'd sent me a text message saying my mutt had been for a good run round.

      Several hours later we'd got her GMail account back under her control!

  7. psychonaut

    dont open that pdf!

    that link in the article...anyone game to push it?

  8. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    an easy solution...

    If you put something up for sale on a site, refuse to accept anything other than cash, and don't ship it anywhere until *AFTER* they've paid for both the item(s) AND the shipping. Anything else is just begging for trouble.

    If they want to pay via cheque, smile & tell them to go to their bank, withdraw the funds, & come back with cash, otherwise bugger off. They want to use PayPal, Bitcoin, or anything else, smile & tell them that Cash is the only way they'll be leaving with the goods. Because anything besides cash in hand is a boning waiting for a victim.

    As for the Banks & cheque processing, if they tell you it takes days to do it, tell them they're full of shite. The same tech that allows the Register Clerk at the grocery store to slide your cheque through the reader & auto-debit your account for the funds *immediately* applies ten-fold to Financial Institutions. That routing number across the bottom includes your account number, and a simple swipe through the reader turns it into the same thing as a Debit Card transaction. The machine sends the routing number, purchase amount, & merchant ID to the institution that issued the cheque. If said institution doesn't exist, the routing number, or account number are wrong, it gets flagged as invalid - No Sale. If the numbers resolve, the institution then checks that the Purchase Amount is actually available in the indicated account. If insufficient funds, then No Sale (or they allow it, but charge the account owner NSF fees) & No Sale. If the funds are there, they are automaticly & immediately deducted from the account & electronicly transferred to the Merchant ID listed in the transaction. All of this happens in under sixty seconds on a congested day, and Financial Institutions have the added benefit of digitally scanning the cheque & sending it along with the transaction data, thus allowing the issuing institution to tell at a glance if it even is one of their instruments. ("Umm... we're the Northern Bank of Belgium, not the NorDern Bnak of Belgeeum.")

    That cheque can be processed in less time than it takes to ask the counter clerk about the weather, and they can have the cash in your hand or let you know it's invalid, in seconds. The *ONLY* reason to force it to take days is to physicly mail it to a clearing house that simply does the same job aforementioned, at a snail's pace, in order to give the bank a few days of earning interest on the funds without having to pay YOU for having done so.

    So refuse anything other than cash, and don't ship it anywhere until they've sent the cash for both the purchase AND the shipping. It can't get any fekking easier.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: an easy solution...

      It can take weeks before the bank decides to take back the money.

      Work from home scams in Canada have had people cash cheques and wire the money to the scammer (less 20% for your time).

      If it's a fake company cheque with all the correct account info it can take the company a week or two to object to the charge and the bank to come after you for the money.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge

    I love it when...

    my spam folder shows 419 messages, something says to wait until it changes.

  10. Sureo

    Nigeria would do itself and everyone else a big favor by cracking down on these scammers. They give the country a bad reputation. I'm sure they have nice prisons. (Need icon holding nose.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      is, always has been and always will be a festering hole on the arse of civilisation. Don't hold your breath (unless you go there) for the government to do anything. They are as corrupt as the bastards running the scams.

  11. pompurin

    Western Union

    Any mention of this money-moving company should send alarm bells ringing. Is there any scam that doesn't use Western Union or the competition Moneygram? The government should enact legislation that forces anyone using them to be asked 'are you being scammed?' and to give details of typical scams before anyone can continue with a transfer.

    It's sad that our overly trusting British nature is abused through the internet which brings (primarily) Nigerian scammers to our front door. I can spot these scams a mile off, but there are vulnerable and naive people who don't know better.

    1. Marvin the Martian

      Re: "overly trusting british nature"

      Because famously Britain is the only country where people fall for scams.

      1. pompurin

        Re: "overly trusting british nature"

        I'm not aware that we're famous for this. I think that all western countries are targeted, it is just easier for Nigerians to target the USA/UK/Aus because of the language (they speak English in Nigeria).

        I know the US army veteran stories are used on unsuspecting Chinese and have some success.

    2. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: Western Union

      "but there are vulnerable and naive people who don't know better."

      and reckon that if it's not Nigerian then all is fine --- your rascism will trap you, you become an easy mark.

  12. DanceMan

    Re: Nigeria .....................bad reputation

    Watch some documentaries about Nigeria. The country has corruption and problems that dwarf any 419 scams. And they seemingly don't care much about the big problems, so I doubt the scams would even register.

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: Nigeria .....................bad reputation

      Big business uses big bungs.

      We taught them well, we showed them how to operate in a multi-national environment.

      We wanted oil, we shed cash like confetti.

  13. VinceH Silver badge

    The "cheque" is higher than the purchase price and intended marks are asked to send the difference - minus their expenses for shipping the kit - via Western Union.

    Ah, that old chestnut. Do you remember the days before the intertubes? It existed then, too.

    Meanwhile, at least one such scammer could be taught a lesson he'll never forget - put this laptop up for sale, and only accept a buyer who is obviously trying this scam.

  14. CmdrX3

    People STILL fall for this

    Happened on Gumtree as well with my daughter. She wan't particularly street savvy but even she smelt a rat when she received a cheque for £2000 for the £200 pound pram she was selling so of course we took the cheque to the police and handed it in.

  15. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    may well not

    > Victims may well not know that the "buyer" of the kit is actually located in Nigeria...

    Is that the same as:

    Victims may not know that the "buyer" of the kit is actually located in Nigeria.. ?

    Only I don't see the need to use bad grammar when there is no imperative.

    It's not as though you are Nigerian. Or are you?

  16. RW

    How to deal with phishing scam/spam

    You've all seen these too. "Your email box is full, please go to such-and-such site and re-enter your handle and password" being a stripped down version.

    The solution is obvious: always, always respond but fill in false information. If the scammers get thousands of replies full of nonsense, they will be hard pressed to figure out which ones are legitimate. Maybe!

    They spam us, we reverse-spam them.

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