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A small hints & tips section for veteran and would-be scam baiters.

 

WARNING

Please remember that these people are CRIMINALS and should be treated as such.

Under no circumstances must you enter into any communications with these people unless you feel you are adequately prepared to deal with them.

Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES give them ANY real private information about yourself. These guys may appear dumb and clueless, but I suspect it wouldn't be so funny if you were to come face-to-face with one of them, although I'll be the first to admit the chances against this happening are astronomical - unless of course you are dumb enough to fly over to meet them in person, in which case you need to be sectioned ASAP!

The tips below are for INFORMATION ONLY. 419eater.com cannot be held responsible for what you decide to do with the information.

If you are unsure of what you are doing please LEAVE WELL ALONE!

 

 

UPDATE: Newcomers to scambaiting can now join our MENTOR programme where experienced scambaiters will help you with tips, tricks and advice.

 

Question.
How do I get a 419 scammer to contact me, I'd love to get stuck into this scam baiting sport?!

Answer.
Well, you are probably one of the lucky ones who haven't received any contact from them yet! I find the best place to harvest scammers is Internet guest books. Open up a Search Engine, such as Google or Altavista and type in a search phrase like the following (not including the speech marks), "guestbook +guymen +mugu" this should bring up many sites containing guest books. Pop over to maybe 10 - 25 of the guestbooks and enter some brief details, of course not forgetting to enter your scam harvesting email address! Within a few days (sometimes a lot less) you should start receiving your invitations to share millions!

Note: I DO NOT advocate guestbook spamming. If you do decide to place your email address onto a guestbook to harvest scammers, please enter something like 'nice site', 'great work' or words to that effect. Remember that the guestbook belongs to a innocent party. I always take time to look through a site if I intend to leave anything in a guestbook.

 

Question.
How do I contact the scammers without using my real email address?

Answer.
Well, there are plenty of web based free email services you can use. Of course the first one the comes to mind is Hotmail, although I've noticed some scammers don't like to converse with Hotmail account holders. Google Mail (Gmail) is another very good webmail service. Just do a search for "free email" or "free webmail" in Google and you'll find plenty to satisfy you.

 

Question.
My friend got a 419 email in his Inbox, can I reply to a scammer even if the initial email was not sent to my email address?

Answer.
Yes! They really don't care who you are, as long as they think they may be able to screw you out of a few grand! If you have a scammer email, just remember to remove the original addressees email address for the body text before you reply.

 

Question.
The scammer wants to send me (fake) documents via fax, but I don't want to use my real fax. What can I do?

Answer.
You have two choices here. You can either bluff your way through it and tell them your fax is broken, or even better, sign up to a free fax service. Personally I use Efax.com. It's free to sign up, and free to receive faxes, though you will have to pay to send a fax. You get your own unique fax number and when the scammer faxes you it arrives in your mailbox as a email attachment. To view the attachment you will have to install a small program (provided free by Efax). Double-click on the attachment to view the fax.

 

Question.
What if the scammer wants to talk on the telephone?

Answer.
Tell them that as a youngster your hearing was damaged after a serious illness. Tell them you're deaf. Personally I use the deafness excuse, but follow it up with a line such as "I am able to use a TextPhone". "If you have access to a TextPhone then I will be able to speak to you, otherwise communication will have to be via email only". Of course it is extremely unlikely that the scammers have a TextPhone (A TextPhone basically lets people type messages to each other across a standard phone line) so that should get you off the hook. Even though they won't have a TextPhone, your kind offer to speak to them via one will ease their mind that you are at least making an effort with them.

You can of course sign up for a voicemail account, though of course this would make the communication one way. This is good as for one , they won't be able to talk to you in person, and two, it costs them money for the overseas call. Again, for voicemail services in your area, do a Internet search. Two recommended US based voicemail services are www.k7.net and www.J2.com both of which also combine a fax service, all totally free (as I write!). If you want a UK based set-up, then I recommend www.yac.co.uk which is a great free voicemail/fax service.

Another trick you can try is to have scammer calls anonymously forwarded to your mobile phone (or your landline if you are feeling brave). I use a service called FlexTel (www.flextel.com). You get provided with a new telephone number which you can pass onto your scammer. He dials the number and then this is anonymously forwarded to your real mobile/landline number. You get to make the scammer pay a small fortune on international calls, and the scammer gets even more convinced that he has found a real victim!

 

Question.
OK. I have the scammer on board, but now he's asking me for my bank details. What do I do?!

Answer.
Don't panic! Just send him any old rubbish. Make up a bank name of your own (my personal favourite is Plunder & Flee Incorporated, feel free to use it yourself and make P&F world famous!). Random account numbers and bank addresses are fine also. You could use a real address if you prefer (not your own of course). I did a scam posing as Dr. Frasier Crane, and the address I gave was the real address for the Seattle Tower in Washington! Remember to cross check the details you have sent if you have to send multiple forms. You don't want a scammer coming back to you asking why your bank account number doesn't match up on the forms you sent to him!

What usually happens is that your account and personal details will be used to make up phoney documents to send back to you. The usual procedure being that a gullible person would believe these documents to be the real thing, and then you would be so taken in that when the scammer asks you for money to help facilitate the release of the funds, you will part with your cash without too much hesitation.

 

Question.
I've sent them my bank details etc. and now they are asking me to make a payment to them. HELP!

Answer.
This is where you need to get some plans together. You could try some delaying tactics, or make some excuse or other why you cannot pay right now. This is the part of the scam where you really need to have planned out beforehand what hoops to make your victim jump through. Personally, I like to pretend to pay using false documents. Of course, as soon as they try to draw the funds they realise the documents are no good, but at least you've wasted some of their time. HERE is a fake Western Union Money Transfer document I sent off to a scammer.

Maybe you can convince your victim that you'll be coming over to his country to complete the deal. Again, make up some false flight booking documents like THIS and let him think he's meeting you at the airport. To get realistic looking flight details, just go to your local online booking site. Go through the booking procedure, do a screen capture, load into your favourite graphics editing program (I use Photoshop) and away you go!

Perhaps on your way to make your payment to the scammer you suffered a GHASTLY MOTOR ACCIDENT, which might have even been printed in a (fake) NEWSPAPER?!

 

Question.
The scammer is asking for some of my identification or a copy of my passport. Where do I find some fake ID to send to him?

Answer.
We now discourage people from sending fake identification to scammers. There is the possibility that the scammer may use the very ID you send to him, to fool a real victim, and although you may create what you think is a totally unbelievable ID featuring some well known celebrity or funny name, there is a possibility that a real victim may be totally unaware of that celebrity or perhaps comes from a country where because of the language differences does not recognise the amusing name as such.

You will find plenty of suggestion for sending garbage files instead of IDs to a scammer on our very busy FORUM. One favourite method is to select a random (and large!) .DLL file and rename it to something like "passport.jpg". Of course the scammer will not be able to display it on his computer, but that's not your fault is it?!

 

Question
Any other tips?

Answer.
The general rule is "MAKE THE SCAMMER DO ALL THE WORK!".

Just use your common sense! I find another good way to wind a scammer up is to deliberately misinterpret their instructions to you. For instance, a scammer may tell you that in communicating with his "lawyer" you must not reveal what the main deal is about, or even mention the scammer's name. Of course, sometimes it's a good idea to mention everything to the lawyer!

If they send you documents to fill in and sign, do it wrong. Pretend you didn't understand their instructions and ask them to repeat themselves. Have they sent you a fax or email attachments? Tell them you didn't receive anything, and please would they send it all again.

I've also found that if things don't seem to be going your way, tell them point blank that the deal is off "unless you agree to XXXX". Be bold and brash and make out the YOU are dictating the terms here. YOU are the one with the cash (they think!) and YOU are the boss. They are your naughty little puppies! Many times the scammers have refused me things - such as providing me with a photograph - and I have told them,"OK, the deal is off, goodbye". It's quite surprising how some of them will buckle and do almost anything you ask if they think you are serious about ending 'the deal'.

If you have your mark convinced you're on your way to meet with him at the airport, a good idea is to ask him to hold up a sign with your name on it so that you will be "able to recognise" him at the airport. Hopefully before this you will have convinced him your name is something like Dina Mite, Barney Rubble, Eric Shun or something like that!

If you are about to ask your scammer for something, dangle a carrot before you do. If you want to hit him for a photograph, mention that you'd like to bring him some gifts (laptops and mobiles phones are favourites). Pretend to do him a favour before you ask him for anything. If they think they are going to get extra out of you they tend to buckle easier.

Another good tactic is to play completely dumb. Let them think you haven't a clue what's going on. Always ask questions every step of the way. This will annoy them.

If you are as certain as you can be that your scammer has fallen for your bait (and thinks you're flying out to him), get him to book a hotel for you. Pick yourself a nice 4 star hotel that has online facilities to confirm a booking, like the Hilton, Sheraton or Sofitel hotels in Nigeria. Tell your victim that you WILL NOT fly out until he sends you a booking receipt for the hotel (which you can check online for validity). Most of the time your mark will make up a million excuses why he can't do it. Simply tell him the deal is off, and eventually if you're lucky he'll buckle and do as you say.

In my scams I usually pretend I'm a rich businessman, so that they tend to try to hit me for a lot more cash. If a target really thinks you are arriving in his country with $100,000 in Dollar bills then you can get him to do almost anything for you. If you are only taking a few thousand, then it's usually not worth the scammers time and effort to be at your command.

Question.
Are these people dangerous?

Answer.
Well, Africa - which for the most part is where most (but it is to be stressed, NOT all) these scams originate from - is a long, long way away. I suspect it would take a lot more than wasting their time over a few emails for them to go to the expense to fly over and give you a beating!

I imagine that they do get seriously annoyed at these time wasting letters, but not enough to warrant us a visit from overseas. I certainly wouldn't want to meet up with one of them in a dark alley! Death threats are quite common, and are considered a trophy of sorts, especially the good ones. Scambaiters can expect to receive a lot of abuse from scammers, which is good, because at least you know you are doing your job right!

Lets for arguments sake say that you did tick off a scammer so much he decides he's going to hop over on a plane to pay you a visit. Where's he going to go? Assuming you were not so stupid as to divulge your real address, the scammer wouldn't have a clue where to come looking for you. Are you a UK scam baiter? If so, pretend you live in the US and vice-versa.

One thing to remember throughout your dealing with these scammers; they are THIEVES, pure and simple. Some of them are even kidnappers and murderers. You may find that sometimes they resort to outright pure begging for help. Pleading with you that they are in a dire and life threatening situations. Sometimes they can be extremely convincing indeed. NEVER, repeat NEVER believe a single word they say. They really will tell you absolutely anything they think you need to hear in order to scam you.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give out personal information to these guys. I repeat, NEVER give out your personal information to these guys.

 

UPDATE: IF YOU SUSPECT YOU ARE A REAL VICTIM OR VICTIM-TO-BE!

Just a reminder that the information above relates mainly to us scambaiters. If you are a real victim who has inadvertently given personal information to a scammer DON'T PANIC, you are in no physical danger! The warnings above are aimed at scambaiters who go out of their way to deliberately waste as much of the scammer's time and resources for as long as possible. The madder we get them, then the better we are doing our job!

As a real victim, you will most probably have done nothing deliberately to antagonise the scammer, so you should not worry that just because they have your address or telephone number that they are out to do you harm - they are not. All they want is money from you, and they will tell you anything you want to hear to get it.

If you suspect that you have been contacted by a scammer, and have inadvertently given out your real details, then the best course of action is to send the scammer a polite email back basically telling them that after taking advice you no longer wish to have any further dealing with them. Do not accuse them of being scammers, or give them any abuse. Let them know that you will be ignoring any future emails from them. It is important from then on to do exactly that - ignore their emails. Save yourself from any further worry by just immediately deleting any of their messages to you. For your peace of mind don't even read them. The scammers will quickly get the message and move on. They cannot afford to waste time on people that they think won't pay up.

If you have given the scammer personal identification, such as a scan of your passport, or your banking details, then to cover yourself you would be advised to alert your local law enforcement. Get some kind of proof you have contacted them (such as a case number) for future reference. Scammers will often use the IDs of real victims in order to fool future victims that they are you for instance. It isn't unheard of that a real victim who has handed over a scan of their passport gets a call from the law a year or two down the line, to ask some embarrassing questions about why you have been trying to scam some little old lady in another country!

It is a common fallacy that scammers ask for victim's banking details in order that they can drain a victims accounts. This is not the case 99% of the time. Such details as your account number and sort code are usually not enough; your signature would be required. Be aware of course that your signature can be forged, especially if you have sent the scammer any type of documentation that contains your real signature. In any case where you believe you have sent your banking details to a scammer it is best to play it safe and contact your bank to inform them immediately.

Usually scammers just ask for banking details to include on any forged documentation that they send to the victim. Seeing one's details on an official looking document helps to create the illusion that the deal is real. Also the scammer mentality is that if a victim is gullible enough to hand over their banking details, then they are likely to be more easily scammed.

 

Please contact me if you have any further questions, or if you are a scam baiter who has some good tips to share with us all.