In Roodeport, South Africa, earlier this month, South African police and Scotland Yard detectives arrested two men suspected of heading "Nigerian" or "4-1-9" e-mail scams. (For more information on these schemes, see "Protecting Yourself and Your Organization from E-mail Scams.") Subsequent news reports note that a total of six people have now been arrested.
The public needs to remain on guard, however. U.S. officials firmly believe that fraudulent messages will continue to pop up in our e-mail in boxes.
As if to prove their point, a new variation of the Nigerian scheme has debuted. In it, "Bradon Curtis," allegedly a Special Forces commando in Afghanistan, writes that he has found $36 million in Taliban drug money. In exchange for help getting the money out of Afghanistan, he will share part of these funds.
According to the U.S. Secret Service, this communication is just another in a series of cons that have cost people millions of dollars over the years. Officials hope that publicity from the arrests in South Africa will prevent people from falling prey to such schemes.
- Hopper, D. Ian. "New Version of E-mail Scam Purports to Be from American Soldier in Afghanistan." Associated Press, May 23, 2002.
- Husted, Bill. "South Africa Arrests Six in Internet Fraud." Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 24, 2002.
- South African Police Service. "International Cooperation Brings Nigerian Fraudsters to Book." News release, May 19, 2002.
- Waller, Martin. "Letter Returns." Times (London), May 25, 2002.