Interview with a Nigerian scammer
Very interesting. Via Schneier on Security:
Part One begins:
Editor’s Disclaimer: Whilst I am reporting an actual conversation, I have no way of verifying the information or details contained within. The interviewee contacted me voluntarily and anonymously claiming to be an ex-scammer who is now studying in the UK. I have agreed to tell his story but this is told ‘as is’ without guarantee as to accuracy or truthfulness. To protect our users we have agreed that the interviewee, who will be known by the pseudonym “John”, will not directly take part in discussions or comments and will not join our community. I do not know how long “John” will maintain contact and in the event that contact is broken, this series of blogs will be discontinued.
Scam-Detective: Thank you for agreeing to talk to us about your experience ‘working’ as a scammer in Lagos, Nigeria. Tell us a little about yourself.
John: I’m 23 years old and was released from prison in Nigeria in October last year where I served two years for fraud. I am now doing a business studies course at college and am in the UK on a student exchange programme. As part of my rehabilitation I am also working with the EFCC in Nigeria to help them understand more about scams and how the gangs work. I don’t do scams any more.
Scam-Detective: How did you get involved in scamming people on the Internet?
John: I come from a poor family in Lagos, Nigeria. We did not have very much money and good jobs are hard to find. I was approached to work for a gang master when I was 15, because I had done well in school with my English, and was getting to be good with computers. The gang master was offering good money and I took the chance to help my family.
Scam-Detective: Do you think that your teachers at school had reported your talents to the gang master?
John: Yes. There is a lot of corruption in Nigeria and the gangs pay well to find people with good English skills to work the scams.
Scam-Detective: What kind of scams were you involved with?
John: Mainly advance fee fraud where we would tell people that someone has died and left millions in a bank or safety deposit box and that we needed help to get it out of the country. That is the most successful type of scam, but I also did Phishing to try and get user names and passwords for peoples online bank accounts.
Scam-Detective: How did you find victims for your scams?