Connections. 419 spam or “Nigerian spam” comes from Nigeria right? Wrong. The vast majority of 419 originates from Amsterdam. Although precise numbers are not known, rough estimates state that approximately 800 people, mostly from Africa, operate 419′s on a non-organized, non-hierarchical and ad-hoc way, which doesn’t mean some of them are not professionals. They even rigged a fake ABN-AMRO bank office where they would meet with their potential victims.

The largest group of the victims are Americans, 22%, followed by the Brits, 6%.

In case you have no idea what I am talking about it’s the following scheme:

  1. The email: you receive an email from say the widow of the former president of some never heard of African state, asking you to help siphon $25 million locked money to a western bank. You can keep the 25% as commission. Utmost discretion, and speed is required.
  2. The bite: Greed is a strong motivator. Whoever responds is lured into a trust relation. Often official documents by local banks or governments are used.
  3. The reeling in: unfortunately, some money is needed to bribe an official or to wire the sum, and well, the rich widow is loaded, but she can’t get to it. You pay the expenses, or bring the money yourself. In the latter case, you are invited to a local bank office, greeted by a white, classy receptionist. All fake of course.
  4. The end: your money is gone.