Monday, September 22, 2008

The 419

Apparently that's the criminal code for fraud in Nigeria. (I've been pretty good about keeping all the posts on this blog related to the house, so - to keep that streak alive - let's call this post a follow-up to Dr. Fred's inquiry about visiting on his honeymoon.) This American Life aired a story last week about "Enforcers," and turns out there's a whole little army of people on the internets who counter-scam Nigerian fraud scammers. Telling them "I'd love to send you the money you're trying to extort from me, but I can only do it if..." And they do it. Like re-enact Monty Python sketches. Or risk their lives in war-torn lands to try to make a buck.

The New Yorker ran a piece a couple of years ago about victims of this kind of fraud. It references a song by a Nigerian comic called "I Will Chop Your Dollar," the lyrics of which include: “I go chop your dollar. I go take your money and disappear. Four-one-nine is just a game. You are the loser and I am the winner.” Chorus is kinda catchy.

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