A small hints & tips section for veteran
and would-be scam baiters.
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.
How do I get a 419 scammer to contact me, I'd love to get stuck
into this scam baiting sport?!
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
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
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.
How do I contact the scammers without using my real email address?
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.
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?
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.
The scammer wants to send me (fake) documents via fax, but I don't
want to use my real fax. What can I do?
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.
What if the scammer wants to talk on the telephone?
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!
OK. I have the scammer on board, but now he's asking me for my bank
details. What do I do?!
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
I've sent them my bank details etc. and now they are asking me to
make a payment to them. HELP!
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
is a fake Western Union Money Transfer document I sent off to a
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
Perhaps on your way to make your payment to the scammer you suffered
MOTOR ACCIDENT, which might have even been printed in a
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?
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?!
Any other tips?
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
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.
Are these people dangerous?
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.