Scammers get scammed by Scambaiters

Bristol Trading Standards Warn Over Cash Promise Scam

Trading standards officers in Bristol are warning of scammers operating on the city's Southmead estate.

It follows the hand-delivery of a letter to the home of a man with learning difficulties.

The scam involved the promise of a cut in an $18.5m (£12m) inheritance in Japan which required the man to contact the writer to obtain the money.

Officials said it was the first step scammer used as a ruse to obtain the bank account details of their victims.

A spokesman said the type of scam was known as a 419 or advanced fee fraud.


Phil Parkyn, from trading standards, said: "The letter made a great deal of the need for secrecy - a typical sign of a 419 scam - and gave an AOL e-mail address and a Japanese fax number.

"Luckily, the resident took the letter to his local housing office where a member of staff spotted immediately that it was a scam.

"He was able to warn the victim who has since made a complaint to trading standards."

This type of scam was said to be very common but normally came by e-mail or post.

Top 10 spam Sending Countries

TrendLabs Researchers reported that the top 10 spam sending countries comprised 85.67 percent of the total number of spam messages circulated. India ranks no. 2 and comes after the U.S. in the Top 10 List of researchers with about 12.55 percent of the messages circulated worldwide.

U.S., Brazil and India retained their positions as the top 3 spam-sending countries, a trend consistent since three months. Both U.S. and Brazil posted an increase in their spam numbers, while India has posted a decline.

Spam-Sending Countries

Rank Country Percentage
1 United States 24.93%
2 India 12.55%
3 Brazil 12.00%
4 United Kingdom 11.30%

Germany 8.66%
6 Vietnam 7.71%
7 France 6.17%

Republic of Korea 6.09%
9 Italy 5.46%
10 Romania 5.13%

Recognizing that attacks are now carried out using three primary vectors - email, Web, and file - researchers have drawn on some of the highlights from the past month.

HSBC has become the top phishing target this month via email. It leaped from the bottom of the list to the top spot in July, while PayPal remained part of the top 3 phishing targets. A new entrant in the top 10 list is ABN Amro Bank.

 Top 10 Phishing Targets

Rank    Via Email                        Via Site Spoofing 

1           HSBC                                  PayPal
2           PayPal                                eBay
3           Banco de Bradesco        Yahoo!
4          World of Warcraft              HSBC
5          Bank of America           Bank of America
6          Amazon                         Banco de Bradesco
7          Chase Bank                 Halifax Bank
8         ANZ                               World of Warcraft
9         Halifax Bank                    Chase Bank
10       Standard Bank of South Africa    Amazon

"User account information and credit card credentials reap good profits for cybercriminals. As such, cybercriminals continued to leverage on the widespread use of social networking sites, search engines, and redirectors this July," said Amit Nath Country Manager India and SAARC Trend Micro.

This month, ATM malware, botnets and online gaming related threats were particularly noteworthy, says TrendLabs Researchers. The notorious KOOBFACE botnet also launched another notable attack in July using the old technique of sending out direct messages (DMs) via Facebook.

Two notable ZeuS/ZBOT malware were found in July - one targeting Russian banks and/or Yandex services, the other was TSPY_ZBOT.CQJ, which steals information by inserting malicious code into legitimate banking websites. The malicious code works when the said sites are viewed using Internet Explorer or Firefox. The report also notes that the continued proliferation of online gaming threats has made the gaming sector a consistent cybercriminal target. This is particularly true in China where online gaming is very popular and where cybercriminals have created XWM, the popular Chinese Trojan kit.


Scammers Attitude

When Contact is First Made
  • Scammer immediately want to get off the website and onto Yahoo IM or MSN IM
  • Their profile seems to disappear off the website immediately after conversation begins
  • They claim it was destiny or fate and you are meant to be together
  • They immediately ask for your picture and they send you a picture of themselves
  • They immediately want your address so as to send you flowers, candy, and teddy bears, often purchased with stolen credit cards
  • They claim to love you either immediately or within 24-48 hours
  • They immediately start using pet names with you:  hon/hun  baby/babe  sweety/sweetie
  • They claim God brought you to him/her
  • Scammer typically claim to be from the US (or your local region) but they are overseas, or going overseas mainly to Nigeria, sometimes the UK for business or family matters 

Communication Skills
  • scammer spelling is atrocious
  • Their grammar is not consistent with how Americans speak, French speak etc.
  • They appear uneducated with their speaking/writing skills
  • They over-use emotions
  • They are notorious for using BUZZ
  • They are notorious for using “i” instead of “I”
  • They consistently use webspeak or abbreviations; u  r  ur  cos  pls/plz  ma  sry  brb  div  
  • They often mix up their phrases: “i” will like to heer from you soonest, I am kool, Do you have any man you care to meet, Do you have any man you planning to meet, Looking for someone to love and care for in life, Am cheerfull in life, I will like to meet someone that is careing and loveing for real in life, “i” am too young for my age if you don’t know, Ok so how will you feel if i says i dont mind you, i will like you to be my best friend, You are so pretty for my likeness
  • They misunderstand our slang or comparisons such as night owl/early bird, poker face
 Scammer Habits

  • Scaammer are not usually around on the weekends to IM
  • They IM at unusual hours for your time zone
  • There are times they are gone from the conversation for a length of time and will sometimes come back at you with a different name, they’re usually conversing with more than one person at a time
  • If you ask them a question they don’t know they will usually be offline for a length of time so they can go look up the answer on the internet always claiming they had a phone call or had to go to the bathroom etc.
  • They like to send you poems or love letters, most of which can be traced back to Sometimes they even forget to change the name in the poem or letter to match your name
  • They send you flowers, teddy bears, and candy within the first few weeks of talking
  • They typically ask you to get on your web cam yet they never seem to have a web cam of their own
  • They ask for your phone number but when they call you can barely understand a word they say because of their accent and back ground noise
  • They may give you a phone number but it’s typically a calling card or a call center, you can rarely get them on the phone
  • They do not like to answer personal questions about themselves and tend to ignore questions
  • They often do not know the correct time difference between where you are and where they claim to be
  • They often claim to have one parent that is of African descent
  • A majority of them claim to have lost a spouse/child/parent in a horrific traffic accident or airplane accident or any of the above are sick or in the hospital
  • They have no close family or friend or business associates to turn to, even the US embassy, instead they can only rely on a stranger they picked off the internet
  • To them love equals financial assistance…if you do not send them money or help them out with what they ask, you do not love them
  • If you deny them or question them they become verbally abusive and will resort to threats
  • They will insist you keep the relationship a secret until “they” come to you live with you
  • Above all, if you call them a Scammer they are highly offended and some will start throwing words at you in their native language

Roque scammer arrested under Identity theft by the Police.

A man was arrested in association to a credit card-skimming fruad, which recorded credit card information from customers at least four Alachua County gas stations.

Luis Orlando Martinez Roque, 24, was arrested in Orange County on Tuesday and awaits banishment to Alachua County.

During a joint investigation by the Gainesville Police Department, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office and the United States Secret Service, Roque was recognized as a suspect by observation video and witness accounts, according to a GPD press release. Roque (scammer) is accused of using the stolen credit card numbers to buy gas and other items, the release stated.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office arrested him while he was sleeping in his girlfriend's house. He was found with two fake cards yet to be linked with any known victims, the release stated.

The Scammer is charged with identity theft and scheme to defraud and is held on $100,000 bond.

Authorities continue to warn locals to use caution when paying for gas with credit cards. There is still a lot of work to be done while the investigation continues, the release stated.

Beware of Grandprent Scam

A local elderly couple learned the hard way that things aren't always what they seem.

The couple, who asked not to be identified, wired nearly $3,000 to an address in Spain to spring their grandson from a Canadian jail.

But the young man had never been arrested. In fact, he never went on the "fishing trip" to Canada described by the man impersonating him on the phone.

The Androscoggin County Sheriff's Department released information about the Aug. 10 incident Tuesday as a warning to residents — especially older ones — to beware of the latest scam to hit the country.

A search on the Internet reveals that elderly people are falling prey to a particularly cruel type of scam known as "the grandparent scam" or the "grandma scam." An April 5 article from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. detailed the case of an 86-year-old Vancouver woman who fell victim to a similar scam, to the tune of nearly $10,000.

According to the article, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the scam is sweeping its way across North America, affecting hundreds of senior citizens. Much like the local couple, the woman answered the phone call — which came from Area Code 514 — from a young man claiming to be her grandson.

The local victim asked which grandson she was speaking to and the man asked her who she thought he was. When she guessed a name, he told her she was right and launched into a story about how he was arrested while on a fishing trip in Canada with two guys he'd just met.

The woman wanted to help her grandson. The man on the other end told her he needed bail money, and she agreed to pay.

Shortly after hanging up with the man she believed to be her grandson, the woman received a call from another man claiming to be a sergeant with the Canadian police. This man instructed them to take a cash advance on their credit card and to send it via Western Union from the Hannaford on Spring Street in Auburn.

It wasn't until the couple talked with their grandson later that they realized they were victims. They told authorities that they thought they were speaking with a legitimate police officer because the sergeant answered the number when they called.

But a call to the telephone number provided in the statement released by the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Department went directly to a French-speaking voice mail.

A further search on the Internet turned up similar cases being investigated by the Ohio attorney general's office. According to a blog on the attorney general's website, a Columbus grandmother received a call just like the other two women from an alleged grandson claiming to be in a Canadian jail.

In many cases, the grandparents were begged by their alleged grandsons not to tell anyone for fear of further problems. In all cases, people were told to wire money in order to bail their grandsons out of jail.

"If you get a call from this number to help your grandson, call your grandson at his home first," the woman warned. "Don't send money without contacting someone else in your family, or the police."

Scammers Targetting Victims By Phone, E-Mail

State and federal agents are investigating a new kind of fraud, that's targeting people across the Valley.

James Recchia is one of the latest targets. The Ahwatukee restaurant owner has been getting strange calls from some scammers accusing him of being an offender.

"Each call is different. One call says they are with the Attorney General's Office," said Recchia. "Another call says they are with internet scam and internet cyber."

Recchia said that for the past few weeks he has been bombarded with calls and messages from someone claiming the Valley businessman has committed a crime and needs to pay a fine.

The calls have been coming in on Recchia's cell phone and business phone.

The caller also threatened one of Recchia's employees, according to the restaurant owner.

"One employee answered and he said he's not here right now and they said you need to find another job because your boss is going away for a long time unless he gets a hold of us with an attorney," said Recchia.

The pizza shop owner did some research over the internet and found hundreds of complaints connected to the phone number that was calling him.

One victim said the caller, “Threatened to press criminal charges against me if I didn't pay the money."
Another said that the caller was, "Very abusing in tone and frightening."

Recchia has refused to send money and is no longer answering any of the calls.

He said that he only wishes there was more that authorities could do to track these scam artists down.

Don’t become victims of such scammers

Government of New South Wales warns against spam emails

Scam emails are being sent to Sydneysiders allegedly from friends in desperate need of money to get out of trouble overseas, the NSW government has caution.

An alert about the international scam was issued on Friday by NSW Fair Trading Minister Virginia Judge.

"According to the scam email, my friend, Ross Steele, was stuck in Spain, missing a wallet and no funds for accommodation or means to get back to Sydney," she said.

Mr Steele said his email had strangely stopped last month, with his friends starting to get fake emails from him a few days later saying he was stranded in Madrid and needed money to be sent to a Western Union account.

"The email also claimed I was unable to be contacted by phone," he said, adding that at least five of his friends had sent money.
"The worry is that I still have no idea how the scammer was able to hack into my email account."

Ms Judge urged people to protect themselves by checking their privacy settings, be careful about what personal information they put on the internet and check how much information was available.
"If you receive an email that appears to be from a family member or friend claiming to be in trouble look at the way the email is written, ask yourself whether the email sounds like it was written by that person," she said.

"Never send your online account details through an email and think carefully before you give away any personal or financial information."

Three people were sentenced to prison due to the scam targeting tech vendors

Their roles in a multimillion-dollar proposal targeting payments to IT and consulting services vendors from four state governments, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Among the companies targeted in the scam were Deloitte Consulting, Unisys, Accenture and EDS, now a part of Hewlett-Packard. The defendants were able to divert state payments totaling US$3.4 million from West Virginia, Kansas, Ohio and Massachusetts to bank accounts controlled by the co-conspirators, the DOJ said in a press release.

The scheme, which began in late 2008, embattled vendors that received large payments from states on a regular basis, the DOJ said. Co-conspirators located in the U.S. filed documents to create dummy entities with names similar to legitimate vendors, as well as fake bank accounts in the names of the targeted vendors. With information acquired from the Internet and other sources, the co-conspirators completed direct deposit authorization forums for the embattled vendors.

The scammers then mailed electronic payment authorization forums to the states, allowing the defendants to hijack legitimate vendor payments, the DOJ said. The group wired more than $770,000 to bank accounts in Kenya.

Sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia were Robert Otiso, 36, of Elk River, Minnesota, to 72 months in prison for conspiracy to commit mail and wire scam; Paramena Shikanda, 35, of Minneapolis, to 46 months in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering; and Collins Masese, 21, of St. Paul, Minnesota, to nine months in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering. The defendants are all natives of Kenya.

Jay Vincent Is Indicted in Internet Jobs Scam

Jay Vincent, a former National Basketball Association and Michigan State player, was charged in an Internet employment scam that was said to have bilked 20,000 job seekers out of about $2 million. The United States attorney’s office in Lansing, Mich., said Vincent, 51, and Anthony Portee, 53, were charged with mail scam and Vincent with an income tax violation.

Romance scam ends in suicide

Yonkers, NY (WABC) -- A New York father is dead and his family believes it's all because he was sucked into an international romance and money scheme (419), causing him to lose everything and even steal from relatives.

"I saw him sitting in a chair with a bullet in his head," Peter Circelli said.

Circelli believes his father, Al, felt he had no way out, committing suicide in the living room of his Yonkers home after realizing a romance to riches fantasy he'd bought into was a scam.

It was only after Peter started going thru his father's belongings that the son discovered his dad's shocking secret, starting with a pile of western union money transfers to the country of Ghana, a notorious location for romance scams.

"They say Ghana, $300. Ghana, $200," he explained. "We've added them all up and they come to the sum of $50,000." On Circelli's laptop, his son discovered email photos and messages supposedly from a woman calling herself Aisha, who promised to come here and start a new life, giving the divorced retired businessman a future and a fortune.

"She had money in a bank and was going to transfer the money to him," Circelli said.

But first, she claimed she needed money transferred to her in Ghana via someone named Nulu Suleman for expenses. At some point, Al Circelli ran out of his own money, and started taking it from his son.

He took out credit cards in his son's name and got advances. Peter's credit is "above and beyond destroyed."

Peter is a respected small business owner who runs a successful body shop and towing company in Englewood, New Jersey. He owns the home his father lived in, and just discovered his father had stopped making mortgage payments.

"This house is in foreclosure. I'm most likely going to lose this house," he said. "It's destroyed me. It's destroyed my family."

The day Al Circelli killed himself, he thought Aisha would be arriving on a Delta flight. She, of course, never showed up.

"What he did because of something like this, I can't even imagine it," Circelli said.

And in one final bizarre twist on Tuesday, Peter found a message on his dad's laptop from Nulu Suleman saying Aisha, or Shanda, had killed herself -- "blown her head off in Chicago."

"It can't be tracked. These people are like ghosts and the damage these people have caused, they shouldn't be able to cause in other people's lives," Circelli said. "To see him go down like this, to think there are other families who might have to go through something like this, I have to open my mouth. I can't hide no more."

Online Job Application Scams - Job Offer from Internet Criminals

The Federal Trade Commission warns of acai weight loss scam

The Federal Trade Commission is suing the marketers of AcaiPure and colon supplement colopure for consumer fraud.

The products advertised on radio, television and the Internet for as little as 99 cents shipping feature fake endorsements by U.S. television talk show diva Oprah Winfrey and celebrity lifestyle host Rachel Ray. 

"Too many 'free' offers come with strings attached," David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a release. "In this case, the defendants promised buyers a 'risk free' trial and then illegally billed their credit cards again and again -- and again. We estimate about a million people have fallen victim to this scam."

Vladeck said he would not use the supplement because the pills do not always contain acai, a purple berry smaller than a grape harvested from the acai palm tree.

The acai berry, native to South and Central America, is touted for its antioxidant properties but there is no scientific evidence it can contribute to rapid weight loss. The ads claimed weight loss of 25 to 30 pounds in the first month.

Since 2007, more than 2,800 complaints have been filed against Phoenix-based Central Coast Nutraceuticals Inc. with law enforcement agencies and the Better Business Bureau, the FTC said. 

Consumers allegedly were scammed out of more than $30 million in 2009 through deceptive advertising and unfair billing practices.


Health Insurance Fraud

A new kind of scam is spreading involving health insurance scam, and it's costing the unemployed thousands.
Scammer companies are trying to get consumers to buy discounted plans, promising discounted coverage which is comparable to reputable companies. "They even go so far as to claim that any place that accepts Blue Cross or Blue Shield will accept these cards," says Ric Herrold with the Better Business Bureau

For an registration fee, consumers receive a realistic insurance card in the mail, usable at doctors, pharmacies, dentists, vision care centers. The fee can be up to $200, along with a monthly fee. Then when they need it most, Herrold says they understand their coverage isn't what they thought. "They might go to the doctor for a luxurious procedure...only to find out, 'sorry, we don't carry this.'" 

Consumers should be on the lookout for persistent robo-calls with no option to ask questions and high pressure phone tactics. Also, scammers are targeting the unemployed and those with pre-existing cfsssonditions.
If you suspect a scammer is trying to get you, contact the Better Business Bureau at 419-531-3116.

Online banking fraud on the rise

Customers have expressed dissatisfaction in the manner in which some banks have been handling reported scam cases on internet banking and Automated Teller Machines (ATM).

Tochukwu Onyiuke, a lawyer at Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors, said of the over 1,000 internet banking scam and ATM con cases his firm is handling, “none of the banks involved has shown authentic interest in rendering assistance to the victims.”

Mr. Onyiuke said many of these victims are customers of Intercontinental Bank, Bank PHB, and Union Bank.

Moses Adeogun, a postgraduate student in a university in the United Kingdom and an Intercontinental customer, recently narrated how he lost all his savings of N429, 000 in the bank to online scam.

Experts say the perpetrator must have had access to Mr. Adeogun’s username, password and transaction code -the three details needed in internet banking -before money could be successfully transferred from his account.

Meanwhile, the victim said he never disclosed any of that information to anyone as “all these information are only known by me and the internet banking office.”

Findings exposed that the Olufunmi Olusanya’s account belongs to a female youth corps member. A transaction was made from Mr. Adeogun’s account to hers and she later withdrew the money through an ATM.

However, Mr. Onyiuke said how scammers managed to get into people’s accounts through internet banking is a question banks should answer since the position of law says “banks have a mandatory duty to protect customer’s fund.”

The legal practitioner said banks are to protect their customers’ money by ensuring that there is no handling on customers’ account or unauthorized withdrawal. “In the event that customer losses money, or occasions that the bank fails to protect the fund, the customer can bring a legal action of a breach of contract against the bank,” he said.

“Banks in Nigeria are fond of pushing blames to the customers even before investigating. Banks always claim that the customers compromised their passwords. But most times, we have discovered through investigations, that the claims were false,” said Mr. Onyiuke

Contacted over Mr Adeogun’s allegation, after several phone calls and electronic mails to the Intercontinental Bank went unreturned, Bridget Chinasa, a receptionist at the bank front office who tried to cover her name tag, said a reporter cannot speak to any official in the bank’s Corporate Communication office since no appointment was made. “Just keep trying the office number to book an appointment,” Ms. Chinasa said.

Tips for dealing with malware

Computer users may never be foolproof against Trojans or other malicious software, but here are a few tips that could be useful before or after a cruel advertisement has been clicked or a malware-carrying e-mail has been opened:

  • Though some malware can circumvent virus detection software, users should still strongly consider purchasing packages with a built-in firewall.
  • Users should immediately power down their computers if a pop-up indicating the need for a machine scan appears. As some have found out, attempting to close this box can still prompt the installation of a Trojan.
  • While e-mail scams originating from Nigeria, Switzerland and other countries appear more complicated than other spam pieces, unfamiliarity with English language and grammar can still shine through. Before acting, take your time and read through an e-mail and discuss whether the writing matches the personality of the sender.

If you have already been victimized, file a complaint on, the website for the partnership among the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance that fights Internet crimes.

419 phishing scam leads to $400,000 loss of Minister series

Ebay Fraudulent Phishing Email Messages

Password change required!

Dear sir,

We recently have determined that different computers have logged onto your eBay account, and multiple password failures were present before the logons. We strongly advice CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD.

If this is not completed by Aug 15, 2010, we will be forced to suspend your account indefinitely, as it may have been used for fraudulent purposes. Thank you for your cooperation.

Click here to Change Your Password
Please do not reply to this e-mail. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you for using eBay!

Please do not reply to this e-mail. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered.

I get so many phishing fraud email messages from Ebay, that I have come to the point where I am not sure.

Watching a Facebook scam in action


From: Evan Jacob
Date: Tue, Aug 4, 2010 at 12:43 AM

Dearest one,
Darling i'm very sorry to keep you long, please forgive me. I am more than happy to read your reply to my mail, How is your day?i hope you are very fine and healthy.
i promise to tell you more about me in my next mail,my name is Miss Evan Jacobs, i am single and have never been married, i am from Sudan in East of Africa, i am 25 yrs and 5in8ft tall,58kg weight.

Earlier i was residing in Darfur refugee camp in Chad on July 2006, at a time there was a division and dispatch of some of the refugees due to the over population of the people in Chad, i was taken to Senegal in West African on 10th August 2007 where i'm presently residing in N'dioum refugee camp due to the civil war in my country. i am suffering in pains in this camp and i really need to have a man by my side to encourage me. i am willing relocate from this country.

My late father Dr Col Daniel Jacobs was the industrial Managing director of (JACOBS AND INDUSTRIAL COMPANY LTD) in KHARTOUM the economy capital of my Country(Sudan) and he was also the personal adviser to the former head of state before the rebel attack our house one early morning and killed my mother and father in cold blood. i escaped death because i was in school when the rebel attack our house. i was the only issue of my late parents,i have no brother nor sister. This Refugee Camp is headed by a Reverend Father am using his office computer to send you this email and i only enter his office when he is less busy in his office.

I would like to know more about you and your hobbies and what you are doing presently. my dream is to meet sincere, faithful, kind and trustworthy person. i will tell you more about my family background in my next mail. Attached here is my picture and i am Hoping to hear from you soon.
Miss Evan.

Be aware of her. She is scammer . I got her details while scam baiting .

Crime World Wide - 419 Fraud

Cross-border crime is an unnecessary aspect of the globalization of the economy and communications. 

Law enforcement authorities around the world are on the alert for the "419 fraud," also known as the "Nigerian Letter.

The scam originated with a Nigerian-based network that has since gone quite global. Normally, e-mails are sent to potential victims overseas, inviting them to invest in a money-laundering scheme or some other business scheme. 

Receivers who show an interest are asked to travel to a third country or remit a considerable "investment" to a bank account in a foreign country. Once the money is in the account, the scammers immediately transfer the money to an account in a different country. 

Investigators in each country get to work only on one piece of the puzzle, so to speak. They are helpless to track down suspects who remain in their home countries. Cases of 419 fraud cases started to be reported in Japan a few years ago. 

One vengeance of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) is a crime ring nicknamed the Pink Panthers. They are jewelry thieves believed to be typically from the former Yugoslavia and have robbed numerous jewelry stores around the world, including Europe, the Middle East and Tokyo. 

Alarmed by this trend, the National Police Agency used the expression "globalization of crime" for the first time in this year's white paper. 

In the past, foreign criminals in Japan were typically groups of relatives and those from the same region, or those who fled to their home countries after committing the crimes. 

But recently, international criminal organizations of an entirely different nature have begun sensitive Japan. Also quite disturbing is the recent spread of cyber crimes and crimes related to child pornography. The threats of drug trafficking and international terrorism are growing, too. 

Can any national police force actually fight crimes that cross national borders? 

So far, more than 800 people who have committed crimes in Japan have eluded capture by fleeing the country. Even when Interpol is concerned, the outcome of the investigation varies from country to country, and arrests and extraditions are rather rare. 

For successful operations that cross national borders, Japanese law enforcement authorities must forge close working relations with their complement in as many countries as possible. 

For example, if a Japanese citizen is kidnapped, and a payment demand has been confirmed coming from abroad, Japanese police should be able to ask investigators in that country to trace the call. 

Close international collaboration will also enable concurrent pursuit of members of a criminal group scattered around the world. 

Japan already has two-sided treaties on mutual assistance in criminal matters with such countries as the United States, China and South Korea. But the treaties need to be multilateral. 

To create a worldwide law enforcement network, the functions of Interpol, whose members consist of 188 nations and regions, need to be unbreakable. But criminal laws vary from country to country, as does the authority and capacity of law enforcers. Obviously, the rule of each country must be respected, which renders really close collaboration a bit of a challenge. 

But we must remember that criminals often slip through this sort of "ambiguity." 

It is time for the international community to take a good, hard look at the traditional ideas of law enforcement and determine what needs to be updated.

Lucky Winners of LACASERA (SMS)

lucky winners of LACASERA

I got a fraudulent SMS from an unknown number sometime last week and after a lot of thinking, I decided to share the experience with you and get some reactions. The SMS goes thus; 'Congratulation! You have won #250,000.00 Your no is among the 42 lucky winners of LACASERA (A popular soft drink in Nigeria) DRINK PROMO. Ticket no, GXB30. Call 08131889692. To claim your prize. (Please note I reconstructed the SMS verbatim).

It didn't help that I was in a bad mood when it came in and I couldn't help replying the scammers with some choice words that my mom spent close to 20 years trying to prevent me from learning. My response; ' You muthafuckers must be really dumb to think anyone will fall for you scam… Lacasera promo,my arse!you dumb fucks can't even spell right. (Also reconstructed verbatim).

I know I shouldn't have done it, but I was at the end of my tether. I get an average of 13 fraudulent proposals every year; an average of one per month. The pretty imaginative proposals range from purchase of oil refineries to inheritances left by dead relatives, with astronomical figures being dangled in front of you in the frenzied bid to separate you from your cash. I have had people call me up and address me by my first name, claiming to have met me in the past and offering me deals which promise fantastic returns. Depending on my mood, I play along until I feel I've burnt enough of their airtime and then I hang up and refuse to pick subsequent calls. In the past, it was just foreigners that were being targeted but with increased surveillance by anti-fraud authorities (local and International), the fraudsters switched their focus to the local scene with varying degrees of success.

The sentence structures of the proposals are nearly always filled with grammatical errors. Most 'yahoo boys' (local parlance for scammers) are school dropouts and they invariably expose their lack of education when they try to communicate with people. Another trait of yahoo boys is to offer fantastic returns on a seemingly easy business deal. I had a guy call me up one day, claiming to be a Port-Harcourt based staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. He offered me a return of N15,000,000 (approximately 99,000 dollars) if I would agree to bribe his boss with N200,000 (approximately 1,400 dollars) so he would award me a contract to supply NNPC with some office equipment. I told him to stick it up his arse and cut the call!

On the streets of Lagos, it is common to see young lads who have no verifiable source of income driving flashy cars, wearing expensive clothes, and sporting the latest communication and entertainment gadgets. In clubs they buy the most expensive bottles of liquor and hold court in the center of their sycophant friends who more often than not, find 'other' friends when the pipeline goes dry. Really, if I were a cop and I saw a 20-year old kid driving a Honda Accord 2008 model and carrying a blackberry, I would shoot him in the leg and drag him to my station and ask questions later. The '419' (local slang for advance-fee fraud) boys, in their 'pursuit of happiness', go to great lengths to snag a 'maga' (local slang for victim of these schemes) including employing diabolical means. Stories abound of scammers who patronize witch-doctors for 'special powers' to help them fleece their targets of their money.

This group of individuals, who represent less than 0.0001% of Nigeria's population, have given the country a terrible reputation in the community of Nations. Nearly every form of communication that emanates from Nigeria or a Nigerian is scrutinized with a fine tooth comb. Nigerians who travel out of the country are usually separated from boarding or arrival lines and frisked to the point of embarrassment at airports. I seriously am not looking forward to travelling out of the country anytime soon, especially after the Christmas Day bomb scare by that dumb-ass Abdulmutallab fella which has gotten international airport security teams paranoid about Nigerians.

I'm not defending the actions of these people, but how come the world behaves like Nigerians are the scum of the earth? America has one of the highest crime rates in the world, ranging from gang violence to drug wars. Britain is home to crackpots and skinheads who stab people on the streets. The Russian mafia is one of the most feared in the world and they have some really heavy scam artists too. So, why is Nigeria so vilified? It gets my goose whenever I read any negative report about Nigeria on the internet. Sony released an advert for the new PS3 and in the ad, a guy said; 'If you believe everything you hear on the internet, you'll be a Nigerian millionaire.' Come on! After some ranting by the Nigerian Government, the material was withdrawn and a high-powered delegation from Sony visited Nigeria and met with Information Minister, Dora Akunyili to apologize. Why was it allowed to air in the first place? That goof almost made me NOT buy the PS3 console after my xbox 360 packed up (But I'm too much of a game freak to let that get to me! Sony, behave or… …)

Ok… I'm outta breath! I don't know why but I just felt the need to let out some steam. Not a very prudent first piece but I hope you guys will understand and bear with me… See you next week, be safe.