How a Scottish author scammed the email spammers to write a bestselling book

Spam emails supposedly from Nigerian princes with fortunes in Swiss bank accounts, or beautiful Russian brides desperate to meet us are nothing unusual.

Most of us delete them without reading them – but Scottish author Neil Forsyth had a different idea.

Curious to find out just how desperate the spammers were for cash, he struck up email conversations with the senders.

After creating his own character called Bob Servant, he was soon dealing with unsuspecting con artists around the globe. He led them on with bizarre requests and surreal stories.

The resulting book – Delete This at Your Peril – won fans ranging from rock band Snow Patrol to writer Irvine Welsh.

Now a follow-up has been released and Hollwood star Brian Cox is playing the comic creation on the radio.


Ringleader of Internet scam arrested in Nigeria

The ringleader of a Dutch-based internet scam that raked in up to $US2 million ($2.6 million) has been arrested in Nigeria, police in Amsterdam say.

The Nigerian, who headed a band of fraudsters operating out of Amsterdam, was arrested in Nigeria’s economic capital of Lagos, police said.

The fraudsters sent emails all over the world promising the recipients quick financial gains from a make-believe inheritance or fictitious lottery wins in exchange for “processing fees” of several thousand dollars.

419 Fraud

419 fraud is named after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes.

Those who paid up never heard from the supposed organisations again or saw a penny of their promised windfall.

Twelve Nigerians were arrested in the Netherlands in February over the scam. Some were held at the request of prosecutors in the United States where most of the scam’s victims are located.

According to the Dutch ANP news agency, the group sent up to 140,000 emails per week.

Nigeria is a major hub for internet scams with criminals bombarding computer owners with emails seeking to trick them into handing over bank details or making advance payments on non-existent money-making schemes.

Experts say that the so-called 419 fraudsters – named after the relevant section in Nigeria’s criminal code – steal hundreds of millions of dollars every year from unsuspecting victims.

The scam busters

Budapest Business Journal, Dec. 2, 2002 http://www.bbj.hu/ by P�ter Ol�h An intrepid writer and a team of consultants have probed the murky world of the ‘Nigerian’ e-mail scheme – and offer some crystal-clear advice Your first instinct on receiving an … [Read more…]