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US demands extradition of '419 scammers' from Europe

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US investigators have requested the extradition of four Nigerians accused of running 419 scams in the Netherlands after the arrest of a gang in Amsterdam and the nearby town of Zaandam earlier this week.

It is the first time the US has asked for the extradition of individuals accused of running 419 scams, a clear sign that authorities want to put an end to these schemes. Convicted scammers can expect hefty jail terms.

On Tuesday, Dutch police arrested 12 people and confiscated €25,000 in cash, computers and fake travel documents. The US Postal Inspection Service assisted in the investigation against the alleged scammers, who are accused of posting over 100,000 emails to victims in several countries, in particular the US, and gained approximately $2m.

The Netherlands remains an important centre for fraudulent lottery and 419 schemes, although the modus operandi has changed somewhat. The emails are now often sent from other countries. A very prolific group operates out of Italy using Tin.it, Telecom Italia Media’s Internet Service Provider, but most of the phone numbers mentioned in mails for lottery scams with names such as Luckystar, Postcode Loterij and EU Lottery are in fact Dutch prepaid mobile phone cards. So far, Telecom Italy has done little to stop the daily deluge of scam mails. ®

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