Monday, May 10, 2010

419 Scam on Facebook

I was reading about the Five hidden dangers of Facebook (Q&A) on cnet and discovered that what I went through a few months ago was actually called a '419 scam'. I never knew it had a name. I just thought that it was plain hacking into my account.

Anyway, this is what was said about the scam (and exactly what happened to me):
There is a common scam called a 419 scam, in which someone hacks your profile and sends messages to your friends asking for money - claiming to be you--saying, "Hey, I was in London, I was mugged, please wire me money." People fall for it. People think their good friend needs help--and end up wiring money to Nigeria.
And Wikipedia says that a 419 scam is also known as an advance-fee fraud. It is the same scam as those junk e-mails we get asking us to help them transfer a substantial amount of fund into our bank account, using it as a vehicle to get their money out of their country (usually one with an embargo). They will always cook a some sappy story of how they were once a noble family and someone's death had left them with a huge amount of inheritance. (I remember posting one of such emails on this blog a long time ago)

The number '419' refers to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code (part of Chapter 38: "Obtaining Property by false pretenses; Cheating") dealing with fraud. And according to Wiki,
Insa Nolte, a lecturer of University of Birmingham's African Studies Department, stated that "The availability of e-mail helped to transform a local form of fraud into one of Nigeria's most important export industries."
Wow, fraud as an industry!

(Afterthought: I think I've heard of the term '419 scam' before... a long time ago while reading Reader's Digest... the article mentioned that a pastor fell for the scam and was too ashamed to admit it to his family. And he fell for it repeatedly, until he decided to lodge a police report... that was after he had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars)

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