Thursday, May 3, 2007

Scamming the Scammers

Those of you who have e-mail accounts are undoubtedly familiar with so-called "419" or "advance fee" scams. Those are the scams -- often out of Nigeria -- where the scammer claims to have money or gold or diamonds or the like, and he wants help in smuggling it out of the country, or the like. "Give me your bank account number, and I will transfer it to your account" is a common ruse. Or maybe the scammer needs money to ship the gold bars to where they can be exchanged for cash. The variations are endless.

Believe it or not, scammers really do bilk some folks out of their money using ruses of this general type. But some valient cyber-vigilanties have arisen to fight them. "Scambusters" or "scambaiters" pretend to be taken in, and they get the scammers to jump through often-bizarre, increasingly-elaborate hoops.

Well, via Nobody's Business, we get this hilarious story of one particularly funny scambaiter. Warning: this is a long story, on multiple pages, and the site ain't particularly fast. It is also NOT work-safe. Unless you work in a VERY tolerant workplace, that is.

Put briefly, "Captain Pugwash," posed as four characters, two of them female: "Patricia Heliotrope Kearney," "Gwendolyn Paxo Kearney" (Patricia's sister), "Reverend William Farquar Felcher," (Head of the Church of the Kinky Mary Magdeline) and "Dr. Wilhelm Winkler" (Consultant at the International Circumcision Association), and he really put a scammer operating under the name Patrick Guilley Ngozi (son of a dead African General, wouldn't you know) through his paces.

So how many times could Cap'n Pugwash get "Ngozi" to photograph his own penis and send the pictures? It turns out the answer is "many."

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