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Oct 5, 2007

Nigerian scammers head for the slammer

A major police operation has blown open a Nigerian 419 scam ring and seized thousands of fake cheques, passports and other collateral worth ~US$16m.

"The month-long investigation into the fraud uncovered more than 4,500 forged and fraudulent documents. UK officials are working with agencies in the US, Holland, Spain and Canada to tackle "mass marketing fraud". A handful of people have been arrested in the UK with almost 70 more held overseas."

As usual, the scammers have been exploiting naive victims using social engineering techniques, sometimes using dating websites (where people seem naturally more vulnerable to being spun a lie).

6th October update: Reuters reports:
"An international crackdown on Internet financial scams this year has yielded more than $2.1 billion in seized fake checks and 77 arrests in the Netherlands, Nigeria and Canada, U.S. and other authorities said on Wednesday."

The seized assets appear to have swollen from $16m to $2.1bn in a few days, an alarming rate of inflation.