Off topic: Arrest over 'Nigerian' email scam
Thread poster: Monika Coulson

Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:09
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
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Oct 31, 2003

A 39-year-old Sydney man will face court today charged with 17 offences relating to a multi-million-dollar internet scam based in Australia.

The so-called Nigerian or West African scam involved fraudsters sending a flood of spam emails telling people they could claim millions of dollars of lottery winnings, an inheritance, or a business opportunity - so long as they first sent money for expenses.

NSW police said yesterday's arrest came after a four-month investigation, and was the first arrest of a key Australian allegedly involved in the global scam.

State Crime Command Assets Confiscation Unit (ACU) detectives arrested the Sydney man during a search of a property at Nyngan in the State's central west.

He will face Dubbo Local Court today.

Simultaneous raids were conducted at two homes, in Cecil Hills and Lurnea, in Sydney's south-west, where police seized computers and documents.

ACU commander Inspector Jennifer Thommeny said the Sydney-based international syndicate had targeted hundreds of victims in Australia and overseas.

"In the last six months, we've probably tracked about $1.5 million," Inspector Thommeny told reporters in Sydney.

"This is really significant," she said. "We believe that this is the first arrest of its kind in the world relating to an Australian connection.

"We have identified victims who have been approached in NSW, South Australia, Victoria, Cyprus, Malaysia, Japan, Norway, Greece, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and England, and in many cases have been conned into handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Inspector Thommeny said the racket was relatively simple to set up, but that it was often difficult to catch the culprits because the victims usually lived overseas.

"It's difficult to say whether we'll see an end to it, because it's all about people's gullibility," she said.

"It's all about whether or not they think they can win the lottery."

In the case of the Nigerian frauds, the victims had not even bought tickets.

Most people ignore such emails as being too good to be true - which they are - but others have become entangled.

Many victims were so embarrassed about being fooled that they never reported the crime.

"Sometimes you will get someone that's really ill and down on their luck and they think, 'Oh my god, it's a gift from heaven'," Inspector Thommeny said.

"It takes a very greedy, ruthless person to set up this scam, because it's very simple."

Some people realised their mistake after the first payment. Others kept handing over money, even when fraudsters demanded further fees.

Authorities issued freeze orders on nine Sydney properties, a UK property, and five vehicles - meaning they could not be sold, and could be confiscated if prosecutions were successful.


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xxxPaul Roige
Local time: 18:09
English to Spanish
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Yay! Oct 31, 2003

Hard to get a shade in Back O'Bourke jails, ouch. But they might have a chance to learn didgeridooing. Takes time.
However, I get my share of Nigerian Scam bulletins (once a month) directly from the Netherlands (or is it?), and they're not in the list. They don't even respond to my bounced mails, and that's not on, jeez.
Now, not a scam apparently, but who gets Reader's Digest's You Have Been Chosen Potential Winner of the Month— Here's Your Cheque for $1,000,000? Ae, there is actually a cheque in the envelope. Mind you, hard to read the word "potential", and apparently they also left out the word "Sucker".
Makes me laugh, but then I think on those elderly who really can't see the small print, end of fun.

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Kate Hudson  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:09
Dutch to English
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The Netherlands and Nigeria scam Oct 31, 2003

Having received one of these exciting emails I decided to research it a little, and yes they picked up the phone (a Dutch mobile number). They asked me to phone back in 10 minutes which I did and then I was told there was a mixup and I needed to phone a Spanish number. But to get the Spanish number I needed to phone back in 1 hour. Rather than doing that I phoned the police and was rather politely told that unless I had actually been defrauded by these people they could take no action.....! I asked whether I needed to follow through on their plan before I could report it and yup.... you need to lose your money to them before the police will act, despite the fact that they are defrauding other people every day using emails as a basis. Seems like some people can almost get away with murder...

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Hans G. Liepert  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:09
English to German
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Scam? Oct 31, 2003

Kate Hudson wrote:
you need to lose your money to them before the police will act, ..

This 'scam' is going on for decades. Did you really believe you or the police could "research" anything. If they were that stupid, they would have been jailed years ago. They speculate with your greed and you just loose time and money. You already did!

[Edited at 2003-10-31 09:03]

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Berni Armstrong  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:09
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Gullibility... is it in our genes? Oct 31, 2003

I was brought up in Nigeria and feel sorry that the country has become tainted by so much corruption and by an evil reputation for scams.

As I was once on a list discussing African topics, I get about fifteen of these "Business Propositions" a week (no exagerration). 90% of them claim to be from some ex-secretary/wife of some ousted head of state, or whatever. They are of course binned instantly... but I still resent the cumulative effort this involves!

How can these con-men still find victims?

I suppose it must be built into us. I mean, whenever I walk down the Rambles in Barcelona and see the tourists being taken in by the teams of con-men working the "Pea under three Walnuts" trick it just makes me sigh. Don't these people know that that con was reported in Roman times?

Well, to quote the immortal W.C. Fields: "There's a sucker born every minute!"



PS I remember once complaining to the police about the screamed threats of a husband to his wife in the flat upstairs from where I lived in Liverpool. I was told it was "domestic" and nothing would be done unless he resorted to violence. Three weeks later the husband stabbed her 27 times and left her to die. I felt such rage and impotence, I tell you.

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:09
Member (2000)
Russian to English
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Also W.C. Fields, I think Oct 31, 2003

"Never give a sucker an even break".

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xxxPaul Roige
Local time: 18:09
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ramble in the Rambles Oct 31, 2003

Berni Armstrong wrote:
I suppose it must be built into us. I mean, whenever I walk down the Rambles in Barcelona and see the tourists being taken in by the teams of con-men working the "Pea under three Walnuts" trick it just makes me sigh. Don't these people know that that con was reported in Roman times?

Those tourists are easy target: they're bored as usual, and dying to get a story to tell back home. I mean, otherwise, what would you say? "Oh, Olaf, I went up and down the Ramblisch 47 times, bought three Ronaldinho jumpers, took 134 pictures and shot two videos... and absolutely nothing happened!".
Compare with: "Oh Olaf, I was mugged at Placha Katalonien, we fought, blood all over, cops came, big fight, nasty men, they all ran, wife kept taking pics, son here filmed it all, look look, ha ha, that's me there. Had a beer later, bought translation software package at FNAC, half price, great holiday!"
Part of the package for some, really, if they're lucky.

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Local time: 18:09
English to Spanish
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Tragic consequences Nov 2, 2003

What these scammers don't realize (or maybe they do, but could care less) is that their little tricks can get out of hand with tragic consequences. Earlier this year, a retired Czech man who had been taken in for all his life savings by this scam walked into the Nigerian embassy in Prague and shot the consul dead.

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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:09
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
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Nigerian cosmonaut trapped on Russian space station! Please send assistance! Sep 1, 2004



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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:39
English to Tamil
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I remember reading about this scam Sep 2, 2004

It seems that there was this advertisement in a Los Angels paper: "Today is the last day for your depositing one dollar. After this date we will not accept your money". Amazingly many people sent one dollar each without even pausing to think as to what they were supposed to get for that money.


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Arrest over 'Nigerian' email scam

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