The Shadowy World of 419, Posing With a Crocodile And Santa Claus in Ouagadougou

What happens when scammers go digital? The result is the shadowy world of 419. Scribbles from the Den, a Cameroonian blog, has a post about these scammers “I Go Chop Your Dollar”: 20/20 Goes into the Shadowy World of Nigerian Internet Scammers:

The email usually pops unannounced in your mailbox with an enticing “private business proposal” or a “request for business relationship”. The style and content of such emails usually vary, however, the substance is always the same – someone with access to a huge sum of money (usually millions of dollars) needs your assistance to move the loot out of his or her country of residence. And for your hard work, you will receive a mouth-watering percentage of the fortune in question. This is the famous 419 Internet scam.

The blog throws a spotlight on a recent broadcast by the US-based news network ABC about scams coming out of Nigeria:

This evening, ABC's 20/20 (Friday, December 8, 2006 at 10 p.m. ET/PT), Chief Investigative Reporter, Brian Ross travels, to Lagos to expose the murky world of the 419ers, and turn the tables on some of these “masters” of crime who end up being the “mugus” (slang for big fool) – a classic case of outconing the conmen.

Still on scams and scammers, Oluniyi David Ajao‘s headline is simple and straight-forward: You can’t cheat an honest man:

…The scam popularly refered to as 419 is basically an “advance fee fraud” that is based on the greediness of the “victim”. It would take a very dishonest person to fall victim.
All the variants of 419 listed on Wikipedia are based on the greediness/gullibility of the willing victim…

There are so many indications that such attractive offers are scams. Huge sums of money are almost always involved. For example, you receive an email or text message that you have won $20,000 in a lottery. You are then asked to send $1,505 as administrative fees or something like that. Now, you would clearly know whether you staked lottery or not. If you didn’t stake any lottery, the only reason you would expect to get something for nothing, is dishonesty.

I am not holding fort for scammers and never will. My point here is simple: You can’t cheat an honest man (or woman :-) ).

This form of scamming is named after the section of the Nigerian criminal code, 419, which prohibits it.

Instead of spending his time responding to scam emails, the Ghanian blogger, Ramblings of an African Geek, likes to play with crocodiles. He shares some close shots of himself with a crocodile, in Paga, northern Ghana: Some road show pictures:

Me and the Crocodile

Me holding a crocodile tail at Paga, just south of the Ghana – Burkina border

Moving on from Ghana to Burkina Faso, we are told that Father Christimas is visiting this West African nation. Under the acacias writes: Father Christmas comes to Ouagadougou:

Christmas is coming apparently. However, in Gorom-Gorom, there is no sign as yet of the approach of Christmas, apart from the increase in price of sheep at the market.


So it was a shock to get to Ouaga and find at the traffic lights that, alongside the usual paper hankies and cellphone cards, inflatable Father Christmases are now also available for sale!

Happy Holidays!


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.