Thursday, December 8, 2011

419 Eaters

Our discussion on information security from our last class reminded me of a group I had heard about on an NPR piece a few years back.

419 Eaters are a group of scam artists who target online scam artists. The group's goal is to otherwise occupy or embarrass scam artists so that they have less time to commit crimes, or hopefully stop completely.

For example a 419 eater might respond to an e-mail from a wealthy Nigerian businessman who needs help moving money from his homeland and so needs access to a bank account, but will pay back the good Samaritan in the future. But instead of giving his bank information the 419 eater instead claims to be from a hand-writing institute and needs help on a project. Specifically, he needs the supposed businessman to hand-copy a book so that his hand writing can be analyzed, after which he'll be paid for his time. A book like Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Or something completely different...

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