Interview with a Nigerian Email Scammer

World • Views: 2,040

Anyone with an email account connected to the Internet has received them — seemingly endless variations on weirdly phrased emails pretending to be from semi-famous people, offering millions of dollars if you’ll help do something that seems slightly shady. They often originate in Nigeria, and they’re a plague upon the web. And they actually do trick some people into giving away their money.

Want to know how a Nigerian email scammer thinks?

Scam-Detective: What kind of scams were you involved with?

John: Mainly advance fee fraud where we would tell people that someone has died and left millions in a bank or safety deposit box and that we needed help to get it out of the country. That is the most successful type of scam, but I also did Phishing to try and get user names and passwords for peoples online bank accounts.

Scam-Detective: How did you find victims for your scams?

John: First you need to understand how the gangs work. At the bottom are the “foot soldiers”, kids who spend all of their time online to find email addresses and send out the first emails to get people interested. When they receive a reply, the victim is passed up the chain, to someone who has better English to get copies of ID from them like copies of their passport and driving licenses and build up trust. Then when they are ready to ask for money, they are passed further up again to someone who will pretend to be a barrister or shipping agent who will tell the victim that they need to pay charges or even a bribe to get the big cash amount out of the country. When they pay up, the gang master will collect the money from the Western Union office, using fake ID that they have taken from other scam victims.

Scam-Detective: But where do the “foot soldiers” find the email addresses?

John: Lots of people sign guestbooks online and leave their email addresses all over the internet on forums and websites. We would just visit the guestbooks, forums and websites and harvest the email addresses. Some gangs have software that collects these emails automatically, so it cuts down on the work.

Scam-Detective: What percentage of emails would get a response?

John: Maybe 9 or 10 out of every thousand emails. Then maybe 1 out of every 20 replies would lead to us getting money out of the victim in the end.

Scam-Detective: And how much money would you expect to get from a victim?

John: On average, about $7,500 (£4,600) but the most I know about was $25,000 (£15,400). This would be taken in smaller amounts, starting with a couple of hundred, then there would be more “problems” with the transaction, which would mean that we needed more money to release the big payout. People would keep paying more because they were very small amounts compared to the big payout that they believed they would get in the end.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
“Did You Even READ the Piece?” This Startup Wants to Make That Question Obsolete for Commentors Let’s be honest: Are you going to read this or skim this? In a land of feeds, tidbits, and bullet points, readers don’t often get to the end of a piece — let alone absorb each sentence along the ...
Thanos
3 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 191 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Young the Giant: Simplify (Official Audio) Young The Giant's official audio for their new single 'Simplify' - available now. Download / Stream 'Simplify': lnk.to Catch Young The Giant on Tour this fall with very special guest Lights!More info at: youngthegiant.com Site: youngthegiant.comFacebook: facebook.comTwitter: @youngthegiantInstagram: instagram.comYouTube: ...
Thanos
4 days, 13 hours ago
Views: 198 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Traveller - ‘Nobody Makes It Out’ (Live at WFUV)wfuv.org • Follow @wfuv: ow.ly Traveller performs "Nobody Makes It Out" live in Studio A. Recorded 5.9.18. Host: Alisa AliAudio: Caroline InzucchiCameras: Kristal Ho, Brian Gallagher & Kaylee KurkierewiczEditors: Kaylee Kurkierewicz & Brian Gallagher
Thanos
4 days, 14 hours ago
Views: 215 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Fantastic Negrito - the Duffler (Official Video) ‘The Duffler’ is taken from Fantastic Negrito's brand new album 'Please Don't Be Dead' out now. Order your copy here: fn.lnk.to Director: Freddy Macdonald Producer: Fred MacdonaldCinematographer: Sebastian KlingerEditor: Freddy MacdonaldProduction Company: Macdonald Entertainment Partners Check here for Fantastic ...
Thanos
4 days, 14 hours ago
Views: 172 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Facebook’s Screening for Political Ads Nabs News Sites… One ad couldn’t have been more obviously political. Targeted to people aged 18 and older, it urged them to “vote YES” on June 5 on a ballot proposition to issue bonds for schools in a district near San Francisco. ...
Thanos
6 days, 5 hours ago
Views: 239 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 13 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Stanford Prison Experiment: Why Famous Psychology Studies Are Now Being Torn Apart Sometimes pseudoscience makes it through to the text books, most often in the soft and social sciences. A new exposé based on previously unpublished recordings of Philip Zimbardo, the Stanford psychologist who ran the study, and interviews with his ...
Thanos
1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 645 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Goliath Season 2 - Official Trailer In Season 2 of Goliath, Billy McBride takes on a new case, and the fight spills into the streets of Los Angeles and alleys of Venice Beach.Goliath returns 6/15 on Prime Video. » Stream Goliath 6/15 on Prime Video: ...
Thanos
1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 577 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Wild Nothing - Letting Go "Letting Go" is the first single from Wild Nothing's forthcoming album, 'Indigo', out 08/31/2018 on Captured Tracks. Order here: wildnothing.lnk.to Follow Wild Nothing:wildnothingmusic.comwildnothingct.bandcamp.comfacebook.cominstagram.com@WildNothingopen.spotify.com Lyrics:It's getting hard for me to reframe all those shifting memoriesLike a music box that never ...
Thanos
2 weeks, 1 day ago
Views: 745 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Third Circuit Nominee Tries to Walk Back Past Comments, Writing Porter appeared before the Judiciary Committee Wednesday despite not receiving the approval of Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. Under the tradition known as the blue slip, the committee has in the past declined to schedule hearings for nominees who do ...
Thanos
2 weeks, 1 day ago
Views: 767 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 5 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Wrongfully Influencing a Private Entity’s Employment Decisions by The Executive When Donald Trump makes pro administration or pro republican, or anti democratic party demands, he is breaking the law. I invite those with some familiarity with how this is actually supposed to work to chime in. (a) Whoever, being ...
Unshaken Defiance
2 weeks, 6 days ago
Views: 961 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 9
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0