Frauds and hoaxes

I can't tell if it's just me, but the number of "Nigerian 4-1-9" fraud letters I'm receiving has been growing to the point where I receive at least one pathetic letter per day telling me about how some creep in a developing country (Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, to name a few) has found or inherited a huge cache of illicit money skimmed off from the starving masses.

In return for my revealing full details of my name, contact information and bank account details (yeah, right!), these self-avowed criminals will transfer amounts such as $50 million into my very own personal bank account and then move it out in a money-laundering scheme. I will supposedly benefit by keeping some large percentage (10%, 20%) of this stolen money. The scam is generally referred to as a 4-1-9 because of the applicable Nigerian laws governing fraud.

First off all, only an astonishing gullible person would give anyone, let alone a "self-avowed embezzler," details of their bank account. Second, only a larcenous twit would actually send anyone money for the fees and bribes demanded by the fraud artists - yet thousands of people have actually fallen for this scam, which has been around for over 20 years.

A few American victims have spent up to tens of thousands of dollars on the illusory ill-gotten gains; a very few have traveled to Nigeria (in particular) and promptly been kidnapped and held for ransom. For more information about this nonsense, see the "419 Coalition Web site" at:, you and your users can find a concise description of the fraud and an extensive list of links for further details.

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