Feeds

Nigeria stamps on 419 (again)

Huge foreign currency earner

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Application security programs and practises

Nigeria is to set up an inquiry into 419 fraud and the laws covering this crime. It may also set up a new agency to tackle the scam which has made the country's name synonymous with Internet fraud.

"The government will step up measures against these criminal activities," President Olusegun Obasanjo said, the BBC reports.

According to some estimates, 419 fraud (so called after the section of Nigeria's penal code which makes it illegal) is one of Nigeria's biggest export earners, generating $5bn a year in foreign currency earners for the scammers. The biggest 419 fraud uncovered to date was a $180m swindle of a Brazilian bank which resulted in its collapse, the BBC reports. Suspects are facing prosecution as are 200 alleged perpetrators of computer fraud (including a federal lawmaker), arrested by Nigeria's anti-fraud squad in May.

So 419 is becoming a higher-risk activity, but the amount of money it generates suggests that 419 is a viable career option for the go-ahead young Nigerian and that thousands could be involved.

In the mid-90s, Nigeria bought ads in leading Western newspapers to warn people off 419 frauds. It pointed out that victims were knowingly getting involved with crime and should expect no help from the Nigerian government.

The basic 419 fraud has existed in letter-writing form since the late 1980s. The Internet has vastly increased the reach of the fraudsters. The letter writer says he has acquired millions of dollars under dubious circumstances and needs help to get the money out of the country. The victim knows that this is illegal but is sucked in on the promise of a huge fee.

The fraudsters then attempts to extract advance fees from the victim. Often the victim is lured to another country to meet the fraudsters; the reasoning for this is that the police in, say, the UK, are not particularly interested in the plight of a venal, stupid person from outside their jurisdiction. Also there have been a few cases of kidnapping and extortion conducted by 419 gangs. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.