Posted by: David Harley | April 7, 2011

Numbers Game: 419s Resurgent

Just in case you thought all the steam had gone out of the 419 business, along comes another twist.

  1. The Times of India reports a lottery scam apparently operating out of Pakistan. This one, though, isn’t carried out by email, but telephone. I’ve heard of (and even been subjected to) Nigerian scams carried out over the phone, but I’m not sure I’ve come across a phone lottery scam before. Whether or not this is a first, I’m sure it won’t be the last.
  2. The same article also reports a scam where victims are promised lunch or dinner with a celebrity. Personally, I’d cheerfully pay quite a lot of money not to break bread with Katie Price or Simon Cowell, but I guess that’s me.
  3. Meanwhile, Paul Ducklin reports a more-than-usually-amusing 419 where the prospective victim is asked to confirm his own death. I don’t think I want to spoil that story any further by disclosing more detail: go and read it. Technotheology, huh? I think I feel a paper coming on…

Don’t think that these things are only a danger to the terminally stupid or media-obsessed, either: according to the Times of India, a doctor lost R40,000 to the first scam, and a retired Lieutenant-General lost R80,000 to the second scam. I have yet to hear of anyone falling for the third, but I’m not placing any bets.

Small Blue-Green World
ESET Senior Research Fellow


  1. […] service. Well, maybe not. Well, to give the scammers some “credit”, they do attempt a twist on the old routine now and then, which seems to be working extraordinarily well in India. […]

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