Saturday, March 10, 2007

419 Eater Meets Monty Python

The previous post prompted me to look for a good Monty Python clip to put up for the benefit of any youngsters too young to have ever seen Monty Python, or for any culturally deprived adults whose parents were too smart to let them stay up late and watch goofy British comedy shows when they were still impressionable youths.

I plugged 'Monty Python' into the youtube search engine and, lo and behold, that wild and crazy guy who runs the 419 Eater site has created an awesome video of how he enticed a 419 scammer into making an a** of himself.

Don't know what a 419 scammer is? Sure you do. Anyone who has had an e-mail account for more than one week knows what it is, you just didn't know that was the name for it.

You know the e-mails I'm talking about. They run like this: "Greetings my good friend. I have been referred to you as one who is honest and trustworthy. I am Alkoona Falloona Pattoona, wife of the late President of Liberia. I have $50,000,000 million my husband stashed away in an account and in order to get it out of the country, I need to move it into a U.S. bank account and I thought you'd make a good partner. ... etc., etc."

Now you know what I'm talking about. Obviously, these are total scams and most of the time they get filtered by your e-mail application or you just delete them if they end up in your in-box. They're called 419 scams because 419 is the section of the Nigerian criminal code that they violate and these scams are thought to have originated in Nigeria.

Anyway, as I mentioned above, this guy in the U.K. runs the 419 Eater site where he posts on how he "baits" these scammers. What he does is actually respond to these con artists and then strings them along in order to waste their time and -- when he's lucky -- their own money. His thinking and purpose is that the longer he can keep them tied up in knots, the less they can run their scams on the naive and/or foolish.
(N.B. his site has lots of samples of the baiting ploys he and others have pulled, some of which are hilariously ingenious, but exercise caution as some of them are pretty crude and/or have inappropriate content).

Here's a video where he actually cons one of these 419 scammers into filming himself re-enacting a famous Monty Python clip. Check it out.

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