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It's easy to dismiss Nigerian 419 advance fee fraudsters as a bunch of chancers who prey on the gullible and the greedy and occasionally get lucky. After all, a fool and his money are soon parted, and the victims of these scams have brought financial misfortune on themselves, isn't that right?

However, reader BW has just received a particularly nasty piece of work with the Lads from Lagos written all over it. He notes:

This is a rather sinister twist on 419, where instead of just duping the greedy and stupid, this actually will terrify some new web users, like my grandparents. Imagine this was within the first 100 emails you had ever seen...

Indeed, this mob are making no effort whatsoever to lure in their victims with preposterous yarns of illicit African booty. No, this is much more to the point:

From: Secretary Towogbola [secretary_in_chargeeeee@hotmail.com]
Subject: TREAT AS URGENT {THIS IS NO JUNK MAIL}

"EXECUTION"EXECUTION"EXECUTION"'
NATIONAL CORPORATION HEADQUATERS LAGOS.

PRIVACY. we wish to introduce our company/ourselves as a subsidiary of INTERNATIONAL ASSASINATORS AND WORLD SECURITY ORGANISATIONS,with branches in one hundred and two {102}countires.

we have received a fax message from our headquaters,new york,this morning to inform you to produce a mandatory sum of US$40,000.00 {FOURTHY THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS} only,into our account given below in nigeria within ninety six hours{96},alternatively you will be SNIPPED and GUNNED down during the period of our oncoming anniversary of fifty years.

STANDARD TRUST BANK VICTORIA ISLAND BRANCH LAGOS A/C NO. 03681173101152 {OLAJIDE .O. WILLIAMS} NIGERIA

CAUTION.

1.you are to attach and send with immediate effect,the payment slip,confirming the payment and to enable us to reconcile with our files and deploy our men already monitoring you.

2.we will as well waste no time to carry our operations,if we discover that this contact is disclosed to any second party including the following:-

{a}police {b}relation and {c}friends

3.we guarantee your saftey locally and internationally,on the completion of this contract and will not hesitate to disclose our men in your country to you and as well render our service if needed or on request.

we seek your urgent co-operation,for it is not our wish to get you eliminated.

Note : - Your death has been paid for by someone you offended sometime ago and it will be adviceable that you co-operate with us a.s.a.p.

TOWOGBOLA .A.JOHNSON SECRETARY.

Snipped? That's sounds painful, although it seems a bit extravagant for teams of trained killers to be carrying out vasectomies before popping a cap in their victim's ass.

We suppose that publishing this story counts as disclosing this contact to a) police b) relation and c) friends. Accordingly, we have surrounded Vulture Central with Scarface-style security and at this very moment our editor is locked in a room with a grenade launcher awaiting the inevitable arrival of the Ninja assassins.

We hasten to add that he has not, however, just shot his best mate and buried his face in an enormous pile of cocaine.

As for the fiftieth anniversary of INTERNATIONAL ASSASINATORS AND WORLD SECURITY ORGANISATIONS, it's a lovely thought that contract killers celebrate such corporate milestones in a manner befitting their trade - by killing more people. Here's to the next 50... ®

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