419 Scams on the Rise
November 12, 2007
Is there anything cuter than a pocket-sized Chihuahua puppy? The people behind the latest 419 scam hope that your answer is “no,” and that you will be willing to happily shell out your hard-earned money for the possibility of receiving, or helping one in need. From Nigerian “officials” to puppies, more people are falling victim to sophisticated online scams
According to a report from MSNBC, this latest version of the 429 Internet scam appears in your email inbox, begging you to send money, or the cute little Chihuahua, or in some cases, Bulldog puppies will be sent to you, otherwise, they will de horrible, untimely deaths.
The U.S. Secret Service estimates that 419 scams “net hundreds of millions of dollars annually worldwide.”
These scams first originated with the infamous “Nigerian letter,” and came to be known as the 419, after the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code that deals with fraud. The strange, all-caps telegrams and letters, and now emails, encourage people to “HELP A HIGH RANKING GOOD OFFICIALLY PERSON LOOKNG FOR A TRUST AND HONEST INDIVDUAL TO HELP WITH WIRING OF MUCH MONEY,” or similar. Believe it or not, people do fall for these “hard luck” stories, and agree to participate in the “money transferring” project.
Variations of this scam abound, from the desperate single woman who sends photos of herself and begs for help, to the “hit man” who is such a nice guy that he has taken the time out of his busy schedule to let you know that a friend of yours has hired him to kill you, but if you send him some money, he may agree to change his schedule to accommodate your needs. Nice of him, huh?
The latest scam, the one involving cute, innocent little puppies, takes advantage of people who love animals, never mind that these same people, as an MSN forum poster pointed out, could go down to there local shelter and pick out a cute little furry friend n person for the minimal cost of immunizations and altering.
Laugh if you want, but more people than you think not only fall for these scams, but send their money along in good faith as well. Laugh if you want, but the next person to fall for one could be someone you know, someone, who at a particularly emotionally vulnerable time in their lives, decided to trust a stranger.
Laugh if you want, but next time, it could be you.