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Don’t Touch That Mail!
Posted on Jan 25, 2007
One of the easiest hoaxes to fall into is the employment scam. Someone advertises what looks like a lucrative job offer on the Internet. It may be at a Kuwaiti oil field, a South African gold mine or a Sierra-Leonean diamond mine. Yummy! You apply and pay a processing fee. You are selected for what looks like the opportunity of a lifetime. Soon you have to pay passport verification fees, visa fees and handling charges, etc. Some brazen ones will arrange for you to meet a “local representative.” You think this has got to be real and you start packing your bags. Then ... nothing.
Here’s another example of a scam that involves a purported business relationship:
A warlord or thieving president may decide to mend his ways and ask you to assist him in his efforts to make restitution.
An orphan may need your help to claim his inheritance.
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To manage the damage that 419 scams have wrought in Nigeria, that nation’s government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft, which will help the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to identify and prosecute cybercriminals. Under the agreement, Nigeria and Microsoft will collaborate on information sharing, training and capacity building to fight Internet crime originating from the country.
The agreement will give the commission access to Microsoft’s technical expertise; information for successful enforcement of the 419 laws; Microsoft-sponsored seminars; and training sessions specifically designed for Nigeria’s law enforcement officers and representatives. For example, Microsoft will provide knowledge on the so-called “botnet” technology that enables hackers to control tens of thousands of PCs and to use them to spread spam. Microsoft expects to instruct Nigerian investigators in extracting useful information from PCs compromised by botnet attacks; in how to monitor computer networks to detect such attacks; and in how to identify the people behind them. Microsoft will also provide leads on spam originating from Nigeria, enabling the authorities there to pursue investigations more quickly and successfully.
The collaboration with Microsoft is already bearing fruit and shows promise in helping Nigeria to shed its “bad guy” toga. Microsoft provided information that Nigerian officials used to identify two Internet service providers associated with large amounts of spam originating from Nigeria. The EFCC launched investigations against the companies and made arrests. Prosecutions are now pending. Many Yahoo guys have also been apprehended and made to pay restitution to their victims in addition to being given prison sentences. Despite worldwide skepticism, Nigeria seems to mean business this time around.
If you have ever lost anything to the Nigerian scam (or if you know anyone who has), there is now a chance to get back some of what you have lost. File a comprehensive complaint with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The website is http://www.efccnigeria.org.
You may also file complaints with the Central Bank of Nigeria Anticorruption Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org. You should do this especially if the CBN was mentioned in the documents that were used to defraud you.
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