Nigerian "419" e-mail scammers targeted in 80 arrests around the world
An international crackdown on e-mail scammers and telephone fraudsters has led to at least 80 arrests and the seizure of almost £8 million worth of fake cheques and postal orders heading for the UK.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has begun to tackle the multi-billion pound industry of mass marketing cons.
The best known instances are international e-mail scams promising vast wealth in return for financial details, but there are also hundreds of subtler frauds, for example asking victims to call a premium rate number in return for a non-existent prize. The Office of Fair Trading estimates that the cons cost the UK more than £3.5 billion every year.
The Nigerian “419” scammers are the most notorious. Named after the relevant section of the Nigerian penal code, the “419” schemers win victims’ trust with stories of invented royalty or politicians offering a share in a huge sum of money in exchange for a little practical help.
One can only hope that this will mean less spam from Nigeria. Somehow, I doubt it.