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<nettime> The Spam Jamboree
geert lovink on Wed, 22 Jan 2003 14:27:23 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> The Spam Jamboree



Spam fighters to gather at MIT

Spam, long the arch nemesis of e-mail users, has become so pervasive
recently that a whole conference is being held to try to find better ways
to fight it. Researchers, industry experts and spam filter hackers are
descending on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Friday for
what is being dubbed as the first-ever Spam Conference.

http://www.computerworld.com.au/IDG2.NSF/a/000833E6?OpenDocument&n=e&c=ID

--

Congress to take on spam, copyright

When the 107th Congress ended its work last November,
politicians discarded dozens of technology-related bills that
had been briefly considered but were never enacted. Now that the
108th Congress has begun this week, some of those controversial
proposals dealing with spam, copyright and Internet taxes will
resurface--and some stand a better chance of becoming law.
January 8, 2003, 4:00 AM PT
http://cl.com.com/Click?q=16-T_rjI4c1y5Ry6WLVirleS3ooqsRR

--

http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,56829,00.html

--

Nigerian E-Mail Scammers Reported On Run

International authorities close in on 22 Nigerians accused of e-mail bank
fraud. Gideon F. For-Mukwai, IDG News Service
Monday, October 14, 2002

Nigerian criminals who have masterminded a series of fraudulent online
schemes in several African countries are on the run in South Africa,
according to local reports. In a recent development in the ongoing series
of <A
HREF="http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,105308,00.asp";>Internet-base
d crimes</A>, the fraudsters made off with millions of dollars swindled
from foreign online investors using reputable South African banks.

--

NewsScan Daily, 14 January 2002 ("Above The Fold")

THE SPAM WARS
There has been a 16-fold increase in the number of unsolicited commercial
e-mail messages in the past two years (according to the spam-filtering
company Brightmail), and little progress has been made in fighting it,
although sporadic lawsuits have sometimes yielded (very) small (and often
uncollectable) cash judgments against the spammers. The president of the
anti-spam Junkbusters Corporation has compared such lawsuits to "mopping up
an oil spill with a toothbrush." Yet some anti-spammers feel the effort is
worthwhile, and Bennett Haselton, who recently won four judgments of $500
each in Washington state, plans to publish a how-to guide for the
spam-perplexed, hoping that if ought people "get in the habit of taking
legal action if they get spammed, then it's going to become so expensive
that spammers have to get out of business." (AP/San Jose Mercury News 14
Jan 2002)
http://www.siliconvalley.com/docs/news/svfront/031444.htm

--

Nigerian Scam Uses Fake SA Banking Websites
Business Day (Johannesburg), October 1, 2002
Rob Rose

The elite Scorpions crime fighting unit has arrested 22 Nigerians
running an international scam in which they claim to represent SA banks
listed on the JSE Securities Exchange SA.

The racketeers operated seven websites, including fake SA Reserve Bank
and Development Bank of Southern Africa websites.

The websites contain SA cellphone numbers that are forwarded to
telephone numbers in Nigeria, the US or UK.

The Scorpions say gullible "investors" are duped into opening online
accounts, which reflect opening balances of $20m. To be able to access
this $20m, wouldbe investors are asked to pay thousands of dollars to
register with SA-based "law firms".

Many victims of the scam, most of whom are from outside SA, have already
parted with millions of rands, says the unit .

In the instance of the fake Reserve Bank website, victims are asked to
pay $10000 to register, and an additional $40000 in tax and insurance.
The Scorpions say 28 people were in advanced stages of negotiations on
this site. One such victim was duped into paying over R2m.

The Scorpions have since shut down the fake Reserve Bank (sarb.org.za)
and DBSA (devbsa.org) sites, but the five others are still operational.

The five are: Continental Bank of Africa
(www.continentalbankofafrica.com); Full Trust Bank (www.fulltrust.com);
Afritrust Bank (www.afritrustbank.com); Chartered Investment Trust Bank
(www.citbonline.com), and Eagle Bank Limited (www.eaglebanklimited.com).
The information on these websites has been lifted illegally from
legitimate banks including African Bank and Société Générale.

Scorpions spokesman Sipho Ngwema said that three raids were conducted in
Johannesburg leading to the arrests of the 22 Nigerians. The ringleader,
Samuel Williams, had already been jailed for 12 years on convictions of
racketeering under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

--

Fraud That Will Not Die
This Day (Lagos), EDITORIAL
October 1, 2002

Nigerian fraudsters have launched a major offensive on companies and
individuals in the UK, reports Conal Walsh

Fraud squads across Britain are on alert amid fears that West African
gangs are stepping up attempts to swindle banks, companies and
government departments out of hundreds of millions of pounds.

There is nothing new about fraud originating in West Africa. It has been
going on for decades, and perhaps the most surprising aspect of it is
that fraud squads in the West have been unable to stamp it out - and
that people still fall for it.

But it has intensified. Several businesses in Britain are understood to
have gone to the wall this year after their banks were persuaded to
transfer large sums out of their accounts by Nigerian hoaxers who
obtained their details by stealing company mail.

To assist the fraud, gang members and associates - many not from African
backgrounds - are thought to have secured jobs in Royal Mail depots,
banks, tax offices and the Department for Work and Pensions.

This news comes as alarm grows over the email distribution of fraudulent
'begging letters' - often sent from Nigeria - which lure money from
recipients with the promise of fabulous returns.

Nigerian money-laundering is also set to return to the political agenda,
with the country's government renewing its efforts to recover a fortune
channelled through City of London banks after being stolen by Sani
Abacha, the late military dictator.

A senior detective said that police concern was now focusing on the
theft of confidential company information.

'The gangs are systematically stealing company mail from rubbish bins,
postrooms and Royal Mail sorting offices, and trying to get hold of tax
and National Insurance paperwork,' the detective said.

'Their aim is to identify a company's account number, sort code, and
signatures. They can then send a mandate to its bank manager, telling
him to make a oe50,000 payment to a numbered offshore account - which,
of course, belongs to the gang's leader, and which he immediately
empties.'

The scam has become known as the clearing house automated payment
system, or 'Chaps', fraud.

'Most of the time, someone gets suspicious and the fraud doesn't work,'
the detective added. 'But the approach of these Nigerian gangs is to try
it on with hundreds, or even thousands, of potential victims. If only a
few fall for it, the fraudsters make a packet.

'The same principle applies to begging letters, which are sent to
thousands of people at a time. It's the sheer staggering scale of the
operation that makes it successful.'

The detective added: 'In their dealings with banks, these criminals are
invariably well-mannered, well-dressed, well-spoken. There are very
large and entirely respectable West African communities living in
Britain, and the criminals trade off their good names.'

Another strength is that the gangs are willing to do business with
anyone. 'They've conducted all kinds of frauds in partnership with
Albanians, Turks, Kurds and, of course, English criminals.'

At their core, however, the frauds tend to be controlled by West
Africans. The gangs are often based on family or tribal ties, and use
local dialects, which make them impossible for authorities to penetrate.

The detective adds: 'The Nigerian gang structure is hard to understand,
partly because it's not really a gang at all, more a loose affiliation
of freelance criminals, who dip in and out of different scams as and
when it suits them. Even so, we're keeping our eye on a few
"businessmen" living very comfortably with mansions in Abuja. If they
ever set foot in the UK again, they'll be arrested.'

Sharp business practices are widely tolerated in Nigeria, which
regularly tops Transparency International's table of corrupt countries.

The effectiveness of Nigerian gangs has even led some UK investigators
to believe they may be 'state-sponsored' - a charge vehemently denied by
Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria's democratically-elected president. Obasanjo
came to power in 1999 vowing to tackle corruption and to retrieve a
fortune stolen from state coffers by President Abacha's family and
cronies during his brutal five-year rule.

Mohammed Abacha, the late dictator's eldest son and allegedly a
principal profiteer, has spent most of the four years since his father's
death in a high-security prison near Lagos, facing charges of murder,
theft and money-laundering. Other associates have proved more elusive -
as has the stolen money, which was channelled through bank accounts and
front companies abroad.

Less than half of the 'Abacha loot', estimated at $4.2bn (oe2.7bn), has
been traced, and less still has actually been returned to Nigeria. Most
of the identified funds have remained frozen in bank accounts in London,
Jersey, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, while the Abacha
family's lawyers fight their case in local courts.

Recently Nigeria reached a controversial out-of-court settlement which
would have allowed the family to keep $100 million of the allegedly
looted money in exchange for handing $1bn back to the government. But it
was reported last week that the Abachas had pulled out of the deal,
leaving the government with no choice but to go back to the courts.

It plans to apply for court orders freezing funds in a number of new
jurisdictions, including the United States, and to seek to confiscate
about $1.25bn already frozen in mainland Europe.

In Britain, the High Court last year ordered 19 banks to freeze accounts
linked to Abacha. However, Nigeria obtained this injunction only after
serious delays, and it is thought that in the meantime the London
accounts had mostly been emptied by their owners.

Obasanjo has criticised the UK for failing to respond earlier to
Nigerian requests to seize the allegedly looted money. The UK's apparent
reluctance to interfere with its banks has even drawn criticism from the
unlikely quarter of Switzerland.

--

From: "Steve Cisler" <cisler {AT} pobox.com>

Here's a Nigerian newspaper account of a conference on Nigerian economic
frauds, not just 419 scams.  Pretty grim...

http://allafrica.com/stories/200210150189.html

--



http://slate.msn.com/?id=3D2072851
How an idea spread and grew on the Internet.

The Nigerian Nightmare
Who's sending you all those scam e-mails?
By Brendan I.  Koerner Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Perhaps you heard from Daniel A.  Oluwa over the past few days.  He's a
member of Nigeria's Federal Audit Committee.  He dropped you an e-mail,
labeled "Strictly Confidential," stating that he's discovered a frozen
account containing $42.5 million.  Mr.  Oluwa wants to snag the loot, but,
for unfathomable reasons, he needs a foreign-based partner to act as an
intermediary.  Interested?  Merely send along your "bank name, address,
account number, swift code, ABA number (if any), beneficiary of account,
telephone and fax numbers of bank." Thirty percent of the booty shall
eventually be yours.

If you didn't receive Oluwa's electronic plea, maybe you were instead
pitched by Dr.  Chukwubu Eze, who's looking for a partner to help him spirit
away $33.62 million in illicit oil money.  Or Steve Okon, the purported son
of a murdered Zimbabwean diplomat.  He's got the skinny on about $10 million
stashed away in an Amsterdam vault.  Or any number of women named Mariam who
claim to be the widows of either the late Nigerian strongman Sani Abacha or
the deceased Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.  They need help tapping into
some Swiss bank accounts.

As you no doubt guessed, none of these supplicants were on the up-and-up.
But you might be surprised to learn that they are, in fact, Nigerian.  Odds
are they're all Lagos-based con artists looking for American dupes greedy
enough and dumb enough to spend thousands in pursuit of nonexistent
fortunes.

--

From: <petraschulz {AT} freenet.ch>
To: <Webmaster {AT} freenet.ch>
Sent: Tuesday, October 22, 2002 2:42 PM
Subject: Warum?

Hallo, leider hast Du auf meine letzte Mail ja nicht geantwortet.

Jetzt weiss ich nicht, ob sie bei Dir angekommen ist.

Ich moechte Dich wirklich gerne naeher kennenlernen und mich mit Dir
treffen! Wir haben ja wohl doch so einiges gemeinsam :-)

Ich habe eine Webseite eingerichtet auf, der Du mehr von mir erfahren
kannst. Bilder findest Du dort natuerlich auch. Damit Du, wenn ich Dir
gefalle, mit mir in Kontaktkt tretten kannst, gibt es dort auch einen
Livechatt mit Cam zu mir nach Hause.

Wir koennen uns dann sofort live unterhalten und uns naeher kennenlernen.

Du brauchst, um auf meine Seite zu kommen, eine spezielle Software, die Du
hier runterladen kannst:

http://www.netmails.com/members/treffen2020/sofortkontakter.exe

Einfach runterladen, starten und schon bist Du bei mir.

Deine
Petra
--

 COOLMATION LIMITED
 Unit 7,Mill Stream Trading Estate,
 Ringwood, Hampshire,
 BH24 3SD,United Kingdom.
 Tel/Fax 44 207 6917571 email: alegg42 {AT} yahoo.co.uk

 Dear Sir,

 I humbly wish to seek your assistance in a matter that is very important
 and also of mutual benefit.

  I am Mr. Andrew Legg, a business consultant and a close confidant to one
 of UK's most powerful families. One of our high network clients wishes to
 move out Of this country the sum of US$30million.She wishes to invest the
 aforementioned Sum in viable businesses overseas.

  For obvious reasons, my client does not wish to place this fund with
 established financial institution in the family's name for security
 reasons. It is her Desire that the deal be handled as quietly as possible
 without possibility of any leakage to the public or British Government.

  She has therefore instructed And empowered me to look for a reliable
 foreigner who can arrange and receive this money in his/her account
 overseas and assist to invest the fund properly for the family. If you
 agree to act as a fund manager to my client and her family, we shall
 release the said sum to you if you meet the necessary requirements.

 Your Commission shall be down payment of 10% of the total sum, and an
 annual 10% of the after tax returns on investment for the first five
 years. Thereafter, the Terms shall be varied.

 If you are capable and willing to participate in this Transaction, reach
 me by this email address (alegg {AT} postmaster.co.uk or
 coolmation {AT} yahoo.co.uk) or by the above Fax number.

 Best Regards,

 Mr. Andrew Legg

--

http://home.rica.net/alphae/419coal/

 --


Haiku'da Been a Spam Filter
By Michelle Delio

2:00 a.m. Aug. 20, 2002 PDT

Refined poetry and ruthless legal prosecution have been brought together in
the latest effort to stop spam.

A hidden scrap of copyrighted poetry embedded in e-mails will be used to
guarantee that any message containing the verse is spam free. And if
spammers dare to hijack the haiku, they will be aggressively sued for
copyright infringement.

The service is being offered by "Habeas," a new spam-filtering service
headed by anti-spam activist and attorney Anne P. Mitchell.

Habeas doesn't stop spam by blocking suspicious e-mail. It prevents it by
aggressively monitoring who is using the service to send mail, and then
allowing people to set up e-mail program filters specifying that all
messages containing the Habeas haiku should be delivered -- no matter how
"spammy" the contents might appear to the average e-mail filter.

E-mail filters are lists that block or redirect the delivery of e-mail that
comes from known spammers, or messages that contain words and phrases
typically found in spam. But legitimate e-mail may also contain references
to the sorts of health, sexual, financial and legal issues that often appear
in standard spam.

Due to increasingly aggressive filtering, publishers of subscription e-mail
newsletters complain that they are being forced to self-censor their
publications, carefully omitting phrases or sometimes even deliberately
misspelling words that might trigger a spam filter.

Writers, reporters and editors say that some e-mailed stories and news
releases never arrive at their destinations due to spam filtering.

And a number of people from Asian countries -- increasingly the subjects of
wide-scale spam blocks -- have all but given up on sending messages to their
friends and colleagues in the United States and Europe.

And still the spam keeps coming.

"Existing law offers little protection from spammers, who continue to find
new ways to beat even the most sophisticated filtering technologies,"
Mitchell, former legal affairs director for Mail Abuse Prevention System
(MAPS), said.

"Technology alone can't stop spam. But existing copyright and trademark law
used in conjunction with Habeas' system allows us to sue and shut down
spammers while protecting senders of legitimate mail."

Mitchell says if a spammer uses the Habeas haiku along with other
trademarked text in an e-mail, Habeas can and will seek penalties of $1
million and more for copyright and trademark violation. It will also help
shut down offenders' businesses through legal injunctions and -- in the
worst cases -- refer them for criminal prosecution.

Dun and Bradstreet have agreed to serve as Habeas' collection agency,
Mitchell said. And several major commercial spam filtering services, such as
"Spam Assassin" and "Mail-Filters.com" intend to add Habeas to their
spam-filtering arsenal.

Habeas also intends to provide lists of unrepentant spammers to maintainers
of the "blacklists," which many systems administrators use to block all
e-mail from known spammers.

Some publishers of small, subscription-based newsletters say they welcomed
the new filtering system since it's becoming increasingly difficult to
deliver their product past spam filters. The struggle has forced many to
self-censor the information they provide to their subscribers.

"What is absolutely as annoying as hell, from the ethical e-mail publisher's
perspective, is the idea that you may have to edit your word choices and
phrasing or a percentage of your subscribers won't see what you deliver to
them because the mail will simply not reach them, or will go into a
'Suspected Spam' folder that they may not ever open," Steve Outing, senior
editor at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, said.

Ironically, Outing's recent column for Editor and Publisher on why he hates
spam filters was trapped by a spam filter and not delivered to his editor.

"I purposely loaded the column with some words that filters tend not to like
to make a point about not wanting to be censored by software," Outing said.
"I e-mailed it to my editor at E&P, but it got blocked by the spam filter
installed on his company's server."

"This was particularly annoying, because the filter was set to just trash
what it identified as spam; my editor had no way of knowing I'd sent him
anything, and I didn't get a bounce-back message saying I'd been blocked."

He eventually had to e-mail the column to his editor's home e-mail address.

"The root of the problem, of course, is spam," Outing said. "Spammers not
only annoy the majority of Internet users and suck up ISP bandwidth, they
also cost ethical e-mail publishers money. The ultimate solution is to
outlaw spam. I doubt there can be such a thing as a perfect spam filter."

Habeas' success will depend on how aggressively the company pursues
violators, and how many people opt to use the service and notify the company
of any spam they may receive that was "sanctioned" by Habeas.

Individuals can freely use Habeas filtering with their existing e-mail
programs. The service is also free for Internet service providers.
Businesses will be charged $200 a year for use of Habeas' services.

Commercial e-mailers who meet Habeas' strict definition of non-spam will be
billed a penny per sent message for the warranting service, capped at $3,000
per month.

The fee may seem steep for small-scale publishers and marketers, but some
said it would be worth it to guarantee their product would actually arrive
in subscribers' in-boxes.

--

March 16, 2042

Spam Stalks, Attacks Steve Case (FutureFeedForward)

NEW YORK--AOLTW Chairman Emeritus Steve Case was rushed to a private
New York hospital late Thursday following a reported assault by
unsolicited commercial email. "We do not want to go into details at
this time," explains AOLTW Chief Security Officer Pamela Spoon. "But
we can confirm that Mr. Case, for a number of months, has been
stalked and harassed by a significant amount of spam, including
messages soliciting mortgage business and offering to enlarge his
penis."

Spam, irritating but typically harmless commercial messages
distributed arbitrarily to the public at large, has been known to
seriously, and sometimes fatally, injure hosts when sent in large
quantities to networked organs and prostheses. "It's a serious, and
clearly documented problem," notes William Chappamattox, Vice
Director of the CalTech Center for Electrohygenics. "I know of at
least 23 cases in which spam has caused measurable damage to wireless
livers and kidneys. The real shame is that most of the injuries could
have been prevented through correct firewall configuration."

Speaking at his company's annual meeting, Case last year revealed to
shareholders that he had received a number of life-sustaining
transplants, including a wireless liver, pancreas, and colon. "I feel
100%," announced the spry, khaki-panted Case. "My doctors can monitor
my blood sugar and fine-tune my insulin levels from any thin client
anywhere in the world. I'm feeling better than I have in years."

Though unconfirmed by AOLTW spokespeople, sources inside Case's
medical team indicate that he recently underwent experimental
installation of a Pore-to-Pore Dermal Network designed to increase
information exchange among regions of the dermis and to firm and tone
his skin. "Steve's not a vain guy," explains the inside source. "This
wasn't a vanity thing. It's just that boyishness was his trademark
look. He didn't want people to think he was losing it."

"I don't personally know of any reported injuries resulting from spam
sent to one of these pore-to-pore networks," notes CalTech's
Chappamattox. "But I do know from experience that security is not
always the highest priority in the first generation of some of these
organs. Scripted pop-ups and pop-unders could conceivably wreak havoc
with [Case's] new skin."

Though declining to comment on questions concerning the role of
Case's reported dermal installation in the spam assault, AOLTW
spokespeople did indicate that the company "is taking appropriate
legal action to enjoin continued harassment of Chairman Case."

In papers filed this week in New York Federal District Court against
"John Doe(s) and twelve other unidentified senders of unsolicited
commercial email" an AOLTW legal team seeks "temporary and permanent
orders enjoining Defendants from sending, relaying, or transmitting
electronic messages to any IP address associated with Plaintiff or
any of his organs or prostheses," and further requests "compensatory
damages for past, continuous, and ongoing trespass to his organs and
person."

Details concerning Case's current medical condition are few, limited
to a family spokesman's indication that the situation is "grave" and
that he is in "bad shape but good spirits."

This futurefeedforward story was sent to you as a subscriber to
futurefeedforward.

For a history of the future, see our timeline at
http://futurefeedforward.com/timeline.php

For an archive of our stories, see http://futurefeedforward.com/archive.php

If you would like to be removed from this list, see
http://futurefeedforward.com/unsubscribe.php

--

Nigeria Hoax Spawns Copycats
By Joanna Glasner

2:00 a.m. June 18, 2002 PDT

For most recipients of e-mail, the Nigerian spam scam is a familiar sight.

It comes, often quite regularly, from an alleged former dignitary of the
Nigerian government. The typical storyline is that the sender has
stashed away a huge wad of cash, but needs a foreign bank account
through which to funnel it.

If the recipient of the letter would kindly provide their own account
number, they can be assured a huge reward.

The scam -- which usually results in some sucker getting their bank
account cleaned out -- has been around since before the dawn of the
Internet.

But if recent tallies of spam complaints are any indication,
perpetrators of the well-known fraud are changing their tactics. Fraud
experts say the scam is too famous to work in its original form.

"As we've pushed awareness, they come up with new ways to attract
victims," said John Kane, research manager at the National White Collar
Crime Center.

In the past few months, Kane has seen versions of the Nigerian scam that
feature authors ranging from deposed African leaders to Afghan refugees
to an alleged U.S. commando.

Perhaps the most common variant on the Nigerian scam is a look-a-like
letter purporting to be from a deposed leader of another African nation.

One widely circulated letter allegedly comes from a son of former Congo
dictator Mobutu Sese-Seko, who seeks help transferring money that's
secretly locked in a chest. Another comes from the daughter of a
deceased Angolan rebel leader who seeks to prevent the government from
seizing the $8.5 million her father left behind.

The Sept. 11 attacks and U.S. military action in Afghanistan have also
inspired a new breed of scams, Kane said.

One such letter claims to come from a U.S. Special Forces commando who
purports to have found $36 million in drug money while conducting a
covert search-and-destroy mission against the Taliban. The "commando"
says he has stashed the cash in luggage, but wants to keep it in someone
else's bank account "for safekeeping."

Another offer comes from a man who claims he was delivering a large sum
of cash to the World Trade Center on the day it collapsed. Although he
escaped from the building, his colleagues believe that he is dead. He
kept the cash, kept a low profile and is in great need of a bank account
to quietly deposit the money.

Given the surge in copycat scams, anti-fraud groups are advising people
to do more than scan e-mail for suspect keywords like "Nigeria."

"There are certain characteristics that these all have in common," said
Kane. Con artists nearly always convey a sense of urgency, emphasize
that millions of dollars are at stake and urge strict confidentiality.

The obvious way to avoid falling victim, of course, is simply to never
give a bank account number to total strangers met over the Internet.

Suspicious as it sounds, the Nigerian hoax has worked remarkably well
for more than a decade. Originated as a postal scam, the fraud took on
new life with the popularization of e-mail. The U.S. Secret Service
estimates that the fraud costs victims hundreds of millions of dollars
worldwide each year.
Although senders pretend from a variety of African nations,
investigations have revealed that most of scams originate in Nigeria,
said a representative of the 419 Coalition, an anti-fraud group.

According to the U.S. State Department, the letters first surfaced in
the mid-1980s around the time of the collapse of world oil prices, which
is Nigeria's main foreign exchange earner. Some Nigerians turned to
crime in order to survive.

In recent years, law enforcement agencies from several countries,
including the United States, Britain, Nigeria and South Africa, have
stepped up efforts to crack down on the bank scam, otherwise known as
advanced-fee fraud or 4-1-9 fraud, for the section of the Nigerian penal
code that covers the crime.

The latest arrest, announced in May, resulted from a joint investigation
by the South African Police Service and Scotland Yard. Police collared
two Nigerian men in Roodepoort, South Africa, who are believed to be
behind one of the larger 4-1-9 operations.

Meanwhile, anti-fraud agencies such as the Internet Fraud Complaint
Center continue to see a brisk volume of advanced-fee fraud complaints.

Fraudsters are responding by getting more creative.

One of the odder examples, provided by Holly Anderson of the National
Fraud Information Center (NFIC), involved a scam artist who lurked on
dating websites, including sites for lesbian singles. The poster
pretended to be the daughter of a slain Sierra Leone gold mine executive
seeking long-term relationship with a special someone.

It would be so easy, she wrote, if some helpful person would just
provide a bank account number.

http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,53115,00.html

 --

THINGS YOU'D LOVE TO SAY...

1. I can see your point, but I still think you're full of #%#%.

2. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.

3. How about never? Is never good for you?

4. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.

5. I am really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.

6. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.

7. I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...

8. I don't work here. I'm a consultant.

9. It sounds like English, but I can't understand a word you're saying.

10. Ahhh...I see the screw-up fairy has visited us again...

11. I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.

13. I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don't give a damn.

14. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

15. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.

16. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of
view.

17. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.

18. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.

19. What am I? Flypaper for freaks!?

20. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.

21. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.

22. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.

23. And your crybaby, whiny-assed opinion would be...?

24. Do I look like a people person?

25. This is not an office. It is Hell with fluorescent lighting.

26. I started out with nothing & still have most of it left.

27. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.

28. If I throw a stick, will you leave?

29. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.

30. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed.

31. I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.

32. A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.

33. Can I trade this job for what's behind door #1?

34. Too many freaks, not enough circuses.

35. Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it?

36. Chaos, panic, & disorder -- my work here is done.

37. How do I set a laser printer to stun?

--

Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 17:37:13 +0900
From: kim chulmin <wbxrose {AT} shinbiro.com>
Subject: help me

You're not going to believe what's happening to me now. someone is doing an
experiment on me. I mean an experiment on a living creature.

it's kind of hard to explain this situation.

Base: liquid thing interacting with human body in itself.


1. they raise some koreans(about 20) and put liquid thing into their body.
2. Using satellite, they located korean's liquid thing around me and also
put liquid thing into my body, also liquid thing in my body is interacting
with that korean's liquid thing.

can you believe this?

please, trust me !!! (served in US Army as SWAT team). maybe next time i can
explain more details about this situation.

I am sending a help mail to many people, but i think that my uni. of Hanyang
uni. in seoul of south korea is most important. please, help me to bring
attention of Hanyang uni. to me. (name: Kim chulmin, student# : 91007940,
department : industrial engineering)

I wrote down this situation in korean.
http://kr.geocities.com/wbxrose

--

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/28/25446.html

--

ONLINE MOUSETRAPPING
His current whereabouts unknown, Pennsylvania man John Zuccarini has been
ordered by the Federal Trade Commission to pay $1.9 million in compensation
to victims of a Web scam in which set up sites using misspelled names of
popular Web destinations to trap accidental visitors and divert them to
porn and gambling sites. Zuccarini is said to make almost $1 million a year
by charging advertisers who use his services. (AP/USA Today 24 May 2002)
http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/2002/05/24/mousetrapping-ftc.htm

--

From: "Don Cameron" <donc {AT} mudgeeab.com.au>
To: <broadband-wireless {AT} vancouvercommunity.net>;
<communityinformatics {AT} vancouvercommunity.net>
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2002 9:27 AM
Subject: [CI] The impact of spam of broadband and CI


Welcome to list broadband-wireless {AT} vancouvercommunity.netHi all,

A short time ago I posted on the potential of spam and other forms of
computer attack to impact on CI initiatives. That a focus on broadband alone
failed to acknowledge or manage the increased threat to global
communications offered through creating wider pipes with no thought to the
subsequent use or management of these pipes. Surprisingly (or not) my
earlier posts have in themselves perhaps highlighted and raised the issue to
a new level. By way of explanation:

Like many people involved in systems administration I maintain a number of
E-Mail accounts. This is so I can track correspondence forwarded or
otherwise used on a particular forum. My posts to CI and Broadband are sent
from an account not otherwise widely used - in this fashion I can (with a
degree of accuracy) monitor return postings or any other factors pertinent
to messages sent under a particular account.

Since posting my comments to the broadband list (over the past week), the
account used has been subjected to a dramatic increase in spam attacks and
server polls seeking account confirmation (does the account exist for the
purpose of spam or relay?) - these requests have all originated from Asia
and Africa.

The spammers are (trying to) get smart. Commonly the spammers are US-based,
using a Chinese ISP and relaying through an African mail-server. I will not
draw any assumptions about just how these spammers acquired this particular
E-Mail address other than to suggest that not everyone on these lists seems
to have the interests of the respective forums at heart... (or the archives
are public?) - Presumably my defences are being tested to see how 'real' the
issues are... so just how big an impact does this all have on CI and
broadband?

The spam header pasted below is from a message received today, and was
relayed (or forged as being relayed) through the African host: "Health
Systems Trust - Working for today's Health System, South Africa's Future".
This is a domain dedicated to helping South Africa's Aids sufferers and
promoting the use of Telemedicine (you can check them out at:
http://www.hst.org.za/) - Obviously this host is the type of service
targeted by broadband initiatives and an organisation we would all willingly
support... However in all likelihood they are about to be shut-down from
much of the world despite the altruistic nature of their work.

Very few ISP's go to the trouble of checking the nature of domains used to
send spam... there is simply too much, and too little time to visit every
web-site. Rather the domains are simply 'black-holed' and forgotten (It was
more good luck than good management that I actually found-out who owned this
server.... fortunately the return address contained the word 'aids' which
flagged a trigger in my systems... however very few other admins will catch
this... more likely the domain will be blocked along with thousands of
others). In my case I have not, nor will I block http access to the Domain,
however all originating E-mail is now blocked... I think this was largely
the intention of the spammer... to prove how 'evil' the sys-admins of this
world are, that we deliberately block such well-intended domains... or to
ensure their spam is sent by using a domain such as this... when in truth
they (the spammers) are the ones illegally using a third-party server and
seeking to gain benefit from the plight of the world's aid sufferers (I have
no words for the integrity of these people). Yet the reality remains... this
Domain will be blocked by a large percentage of global sys-admins unless
something is done to stop the practice - in this case the problem is with US
laws (or the lack thereof) about Spam - the third-party African relay is
very much an innocent party (as are any sys-admins who unknowingly block
this domain).

Received: from spooler by ......... 27 May
02 21:53:53 +1000
X-Envelope-To: <.........>
Return-path: <infosearchshoes {AT} 163.com>
Received: from (my ISP)
27 May 02 21:52:58 +1000
Received: from sm5.163.com ([202.108.44.212])
 by (my ISP)
 for <me>; Mon, 27 May 2002 22:19:06 +1000
Received: from localhost (localhost [127.0.0.1])
 by sm5.163.com (Postfix) with SMTP
 id 059311C7E5200; Mon, 27 May 2002 20:17:59 +0800 (CST)
Received: from 163.com (unknown [218.66.209.140])
 by 192.168.1.212 (Coremail) with SMTP id PQIAAPAj8jxv/v//.1
 for <arch-af-aids {AT} hst.org.za>; Mon, 27 May 2002 20:17:59 +0800 (CST)
Message-ID: <4120025127121832674 {AT} 163.com>
X-EM-Version: 5, 0, 0, 11
X-EM-Registration: #S1dI500R1AX60C0Rb100
X-Priority: 1
Reply-To: r-start {AT} 163.com
From: "www.searchshoes.com" <infosearchshoes {AT} 163.com>
Subject: sell fashion shoes for man U.Price: USD 1.3 /PR FOB XM
Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 20:18:32 +0800
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/mixed;
 boundary="----=_NextPart_000_01BC2B74.89D1CCC0"
X-RAVMilter-Version: 8.3.3(snapshot 20020312) (my ISP)

(Yes... it's all nothing more than an attempt to sell cheap shoes... what an
abuse of our systems, and assault on the plight of the world's aid
sufferers)

Rgds, Don

--

The Worst Internet Hoaxes

Gotcha! E-mail hoaxes are out to get you. Here are the ten most cunning
ruses to watch out for.

Scott Spanbauer

Communicating by e-mail seems safe and clean compared to the real
world--no bad breath, no cauliflower ear, and no anthrax. But e-mail
doesn't escape the clutches of con artists. Just because an e-mail
message looks legitimate and plays upon our deeply felt hopes and fears
doesn't mean it's true. Here's our top ten list of some of the most
devious hoaxes and outright scams in Internet history. Don't be
surprised to see some of them appear (and mutate into new forms) again
and again.

And don't get taken in.

10. Let the Good Times Roll

Even the threat of a computer virus is enough to throw many PC users
into a tizzy. And virus warning hoaxes are nearly as bad as the real
thing. Frightened recipients frantically forward the bogus advisory to
everyone they know. One of the first phony bulletins warned recipients
not to read or download any files with the name Good Times. Naturally,
the message spread like a virus, bogging down mail servers. Do you have
a virus alert but you're not sure if it's genuine? Visit Vmyths.com.

9. Help a Sick Child

Who wouldn't want to save a little girl dying of cancer? Or help a
little boy with epilepsy? The various incarnations of this hoax go on
and on. Most of them involve forwarding the e-mail message to others. In
return, the American Cancer Society, a hospital, or another medical
organization will donate anywhere from a few cents to a dollar to the
non-existent child. See HoaxBusters for chapter and verse.

8. Bill Gates Reaches Out to You

Impossible as it may seem, Bill Gates is contacting you, personally. And
not only that, the billionaire wants to give you money! "My name is Bill
Gates. Here at Microsoft we have just compiled an e-mail tracing
program..." Naturally, there will be some forwarding of e-mail involved.
Starting to see a pattern? Variations on this theme appear to come from
Walt Disney Jr. (who never existed), The Gap, Victoria's Secret, and
AOL. To get the skinny, hop to HoaxBusters.

7. Dial 809 for Trouble

This started as a real e-mail scam, but somebody managed to turn the
whole thing into a hoax, too. A few years back, an e-mail message
requesting payment of an "outstanding account" demanded that recipients
call a number in the 809 area code (a Caribbean prefix) to clear things
up. Lots of people dialed the number only to incur $25-per-minute phone
charges. ScamBusters exposed the original threat, but some joker started
circulating an altered version of the ScamBusters report that adds to
the confusion. According to ScamBusters, there were other area codes
used in the scam: 242 (Bahamas), 284 (British Virgin Islands), and 787
(Puerto Rico). Does that mean you should never dial numbers in the 809
area code or these other zones? Of course not. Head to HoaxBusters for
the dirt.

6. Money Nonsense in Nigeria

You receive an urgent, confidential message from a Nigerian government
official who wants to deposit millions of dollars in your bank account.
The official is contacting you in order to bypass some local
bureaucratic snafu. All he needs is your name and bank account number.
Should you respond, or delete the message? You might find it peculiar,
but lots of people have been conned out of their savings in this
dangerous and ongoing con game, known as the Advance Fee Fraud, 419
Fraud, or Nigerian Scam. According to the 419 Coalition Web site, the
con has pulled in more than $5 billion and is one of the largest
industries in Nigeria. For details, check out ScamBusters or the posting
by the United States Treasury Department.

5. Save Big Bird

Everybody knows that PBS needs your support to keep delivering its
programming. So when you receive a professionally written plea quoting
Nina Totenberg and warning that the system is in danger, it comes as no
surprise. You don't even have to send money, just--you guessed
it--forward the message. This kind of hoax is bound to stick around for
a while. So for future reference, remember that there is no such thing
as an e-mail petition. Hop to About.com for more details.

4. The $250 Cookie Recipe

This is a true story, really. It must be--I read about it in an e-mail
message. You've probably stumbled upon this message, too. But in case
you haven't heard, the story goes like this: Someone ate a cookie for
dessert at a restaurant in a Neiman Marcus store. The customer asked for
the recipe, and was charged $250 for it (not "$2.50," as expected).
Though this urban legend dates back more than 50 years, according to the
San Fernando Valley Folklore Society, it's gained a new life thanks to
the wonders of e-mail. Whatever you do, don't bother forwarding it.

3. Deodorant Endangers Your Health?

We tend to believe reasonable first-person accounts, especially if they
report the advice of doctors or other experts and prey on our fears. A
convincing-sounding message forwarded from a woman who attended a health
seminar warned that deodorant can cause breast cancer. There's no truth
to the story, says the American Cancer Society. But post the message to
your favorite mailing list and just watch the panic ensue. You can stop
worrying about shampoo and toothpaste, too.

2. Last Photo From the World Trade Center Deck?

Even the tragic events of September 11th have spawned hoaxes. Did you
see the photo posted on the Web of a tourist posing on the World Trade
Center observation deck a split second before an airliner crashed into
it? Visit the Urban Legends Reference Pages for the photo and the
reasons why it never happened.

1. Next Time, Just Say "I Don't Know"

If you've been suckered by an e-mail hoax, you're in good company.
During the 2000 elections, a gullible television reporter asked debating
Senate candidates Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio about pending
legislation to establish a 5-cent tax on e-mail messages. Both stated
their opposition to it--live on the air. Never mind that no such bill
ever existed--the reporter had just read one of those urgent e-mails. Go
to HoaxBusters for the full report.

--

January 25 2002
http://latimes.com/business/la-012502goldscm.story
Taking a Flier on a Scam

       PROLIFERATING PONZI SCHEMES ON THE INTERNET
       TEMPT GAMBLERS WHO THINK THEY CAN GET OUT
       IN TIME. MOST DON'T.

       By MICHAEL A. HILTZIK and CHARLES PILLER
       Times Staff Writers

 With three years' experience putting money into get-rich-quick programs
 online, Jack Reitzel believes he has learned all the rules.

 One rule is not to believe anything the promoters say. If they promise a
 300% return on investors' money in two weeks, it's more than likely the
 site will disappear before the deadline arrives. If they claim their
 response is slow because they've had emergency surgery or technical
 problems or a dispute with their bankers, it's time to worry.

 And above all, one should understand that the longer one plays, the
 better the chance of losing.

 "There have been dozens [of programs] where I've lost $10, $20, $50," he
 said. "In some, I've lost $500." One program purportedly investing in
 racehorses, into which he was enticed by a recommendation from a friend
 of a friend, cost him $5,000.

 "It will take me a long time to get my head above water," said Reitzel, a
 56-year-old computer engineer. "I definitely don't call this investing.
 It's gambling."

 Tell that to the roughly 1,000 people who lost a combined $1 million in
 "Invest Better 2001," a scheme run by 17-year-old Cole Bartiromo of
 Mission Viejo. Like Reitzel, many of them appear to have been serial
 players, jumping from program to program on the Web.

 Unlike true victims, many often know what they are getting into: online
 variations of the Ponzi, pyramid and get-rich-quick come-ons that have
 lured credulous citizens for decades. Relying on tips passed among users
 of online bulletin boards, they are gambling that they can get their
 initial investment out fast, then reap as much profit as possible before
 the wild promises collapse.

 This strategy involves risk. For one thing, without insider complicity it
 is almost impossible to be sure where one is located in the pyramid.

 "All these sites say 'get in on the ground floor now' no matter when it
 is in the life of the pyramid," said Jim Kohm, an attorney for the
 Federal Trade Commission. Most participants lose everything they invest,
 he said.

 Moreover, many state laws define any participation in pyramid scams--even
 that by apparent victims--as engaging in an illegal activity, said Steve
 Larsen, manager of the Washington state attorney general's Cyber Consumer
 Resource Center. That subjects investors to similar criminal and civil
 penalties as promoters.

 Those penalties vary widely by jurisdiction and the scale of the crime.
 Under federal sentencing guidelines, the sponsors of scams that net more
 than a million dollars and involve a large number of victims can face big
 fines and up to 20 years in prison. In most cases, the perpetrators also
 are expected to repay victims.

 Although the Internet has proved a boon to shysters, it has also helped
 prosecutors catch them in the act, said John Reed Stark, chief of
 Internet enforcement for the Securities and Exchange Commission. "The
 electronic footprints that they have left on the Internet [offer] a
 resplendent evidentiary trail," he said.

 Authorities say Bartiromo's Invest Better Web site, which was shut down
 this month by the SEC, bore several common characteristics of online
 investment scams. These include the promise of outlandish investment
 returns, backed by a marginally plausible investment idea seized upon by
 eager investors. Bartiromo promised his customers returns of up to 2,500%
 "risk free," purportedly as a result of placing "safe bets" on sports
 contests.

 Other suspect Web sites hint that they are associated with investments in
 gold, foreign bank securities or investment opportunities not otherwise
 open to small investors. The vagueness of the actual investment goal,
 perversely, often enhances its appeal to customers.

 "The nonsense of believing in pyramid schemes goes back to childhood days
 of telling ghost stories in tents," said Mike Caro, a games and gambling
 expert associated with Hollywood Park.

 Today there is a new element: the Internet's ability to facilitate the
 spread of these schemes. Mass e-mailings, or "spam," circulate word of
 new programs to thousands of potential marks at a click. "Once your name
 gets into the mill, it's like junk mail," Reitzel said. Promoters use
 public message boards, easily accessible via services such as Yahoo, to
 reach huge audiences of computer users. They often disguise themselves as
 delighted investors eager to pass on word of a sure-fire program.
 Anonymous Web-hosting services enable investment promoters to shield
 their identities and locations from investors and law enforcement
 officials.

 "It's never been easier for con men to reach so many victims so easily,"
 said David Marchant, a Miami-based publisher of newsletters exposing
 offshore investment scams. "The Internet has accelerated the life span of
 your average Ponzi scheme, which used to be spread by word of mouth. With
 the Internet, they don't have to do the traditional things like
 infiltrating church groups anymore."

 Ponzi schemes are named after Charles K. Ponzi, a 1920s-era swindler who
 purportedly invested his clients' money in postal coupons but secretly
 paid investors from the money he collected from later investors. The Web
 hosts thousands of programs that promise to earn customers returns of
 150% to 200% a month by investing in offshore trading and other
 international opportunities.

 Pyramid schemes operate much the same way--paying investors from the
 proceeds contributed by others--but the relationship is often more overt,
 with investors at each "level" knowingly entitled to a share of later
 contributions, as in a chain letter.

 "In Ponzi schemes, it's extremely common for people at the beginning to
 get high returns," Marchant said. "You put $2,000 in and get $4,000 back.
 The problem is that human nature is to put that $4,000 back in; then,
 when they get $8,000 back, they mortgage the house and lose everything.
 At the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of money ends up in the
 hands of crooks."

 Those few who make money often do so by making a quick change from sucker
 to fraudster.

 "People knowingly become shills or spokesmen for the schemes in online
 chat rooms or [via] e-mail to protect their investment," said James H.
 Vaules, chief executive of the National Fraud Center, a subsidiary of
 database giant LexisNexis. "There are a lot of people who begin as
 victims and end up as co-conspirators," said Vaules, a former FBI
 executive specializing in white-collar crime.

 Prosecution of online fraud is hampered by the difficulty of showing
 clear criminal intent.

 "You have to prove that inside a guy's brain he knew this was a fraud,"
 said Timothy Healy, chief of the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center.
 "The challenge on any type of fraudulent scheme is to prove that he
 intended fraud."

 Nevertheless, as con men have known for centuries, the pool of willing
 marks is almost bottomless.

 Complaints Represent Only Tip of the Iceberg

 "There are some people who really believe they can make money doing
 nothing," said Michelle Haggerty, a Thousand Oaks operator of an online
 self-publishing service who was inundated with e-mails after her
 testimonial for ZoneHunt Matrix, a pyramid program, appeared on the
 ZoneHunt Web site.

 "I got e-mails from people saying they've put their grocery money into
 this, and that's scary," she said, adding that she tried to warn some
 people that the system would yield results only if allowed to run for
 years.

 ZoneHunt works by inserting customers into a series of "matrices" of 84
 investors each; every investor is theoretically paid a portion of the
 contribution of the 83 who follow. The matrices range from "beginner
 level," in which everyone contributes $5 to earn $150, up to "platinum
 level," in which participants each contribute $29,997 for a theoretical
 gain of nearly $480,000. Once his or her matrix is filled, the investor
 can move up to the next level and, again theoretically, reap
 proportionately greater gains.

 The ZoneHunt Web site portrays this as a virtual perpetual motion machine
 of increasing wealth ("Look at it this way: If you joined at the $5 level
 and it took you one year to complete Silver, you've earned $15,952--all
 for $5"). Not surprisingly, however, the process is much more difficult.

 Out of 11,000 customers, according to Amber Jalink, the program's
 Canadian organizer, fewer than 50 are invested in the Silver level,
 including several who started there. If the number of new customers slows
 or the site shuts down, unrealized profit would disappear.

 "If it stops, someone would be left putting money in and not getting
 anything out," Jalink acknowledged.

 Investment schemes are so widespread on the Web that law enforcement
 authorities know the thousands of complaints they receive each year
 represent the barest tip of the iceberg.

 Traditional swindles such as pyramid schemes made up 6% of the Internet
 complaints received by the FBI for the 12 months ended in May, and only
 1% of 204,000 consumer-fraud complaints to the FTC in 2001. (Most
 complaints are filed over Internet auctions, identity theft or credit
 card fraud.) The average victim of an Internet pyramid scheme lost $339,
 according to the FBI.

 Those figures vastly understate the extent of the problem, law
 enforcement officials say. For one thing, naive investors often fail to
 report even blatant rip-offs.

 "People have confidence that they will strike it rich [the next] time.
 They don't often see themselves as victims of fraud," said Betsy Broder,
 an attorney with the FTC's consumer fraud division. "Although we know
 with mathematical certainty that about 90% of people who participate in a
 pyramid scheme will lose money."

 And repeat losers are common, experts say. "The vast majority of people
 involved in these things are those who grab for the brass ring
 continually, who believe the pitch over and over again and lose money
 every time," not unlike compulsive gamblers, Kohm said.

 "People are feeling more comfortable with the Internet," said the FBI's
 Healy. "With more commerce comes more fraud."

 And, he might add, more enablers.

 "The scam industry is so big that there's a well-defined infrastructure,"
 said Jay D. Adkisson, an Irvine financial consultant who operates
 Quatloos.com, a clearinghouse for information about financial swindles.
 "There's a long list of facilitators."

 These include online shills who post messages in Internet discussion
 groups playing up their own sites and denigrating others as frauds.

 "We've seen the phenomenon of scam artists creating 'due diligence'
 sites," which purport to distinguish honest sites from frauds as a public
 service or for a membership fee, Adkisson said. "That speaks volumes
 about how high-yield investment programs [generally get-rich-quick
 schemes offering implausible monthly or annual returns] have become an
 industry and a very significant problem to retirees and low-income
 people."

 Perhaps most important, the Internet has provided easy ways to move money
 from investors' pockets to promoters'. Many online scams advise their
 customers to open accounts at online money-transfer services such as
 PayPal or E-Gold. These services were founded principally to facilitate
 e-commerce payments by acting as financial intermediaries between buyers
 and merchants. But they also can facilitate the funding of scams without
 requiring cash to be sent through the mail.

 Scam Promoters May Use Offshore Services

 Some online payment services say they are sensitive about being misused
 this way. Among them is PayPal, an electronic financial transmission
 service often used by online financial promoters to receive contributions
 and, where applicable, distribute proceeds.

 "Our user agreement clearly states that PayPal cannot be used for any
 illegal purpose or activity," Vince Sollitto, a spokesman for the Palo
 Alto-based company, said in an e-mail to The Times. Other services say
 the uses to which their systems are put are none of their business.

 "It's vexingly difficult to determine the legality of what someone does,"
 said Douglas Jackson, chairman of E-Gold Ltd., an intermediary for
 e-commerce transactions. "We don't ask."

 Although E-Gold describes itself as an offshore market for the buying and
 selling of gold, backed by precious-metal reserves the company maintains
 overseas, in practice the system allows users to transfer money among
 themselves almost as though they are writing checks.

 Promoters of online scams may find the system even more inviting because
 it is legally headquartered in the Caribbean island of Nevis, a notorious
 offshore financial haven. Jackson said this is because Nevis has "a
 strong tradition of respect for contract law" and added, "I have not
 observed that it's liable to abuse."

 He acknowledged that E-Gold regards itself and its user accounts as "not
 subject to U.S. regulatory agencies" and said any subpoenas it might
 receive from an onshore law enforcement agency might need to be "brought
 before Nevis courts" to determine their legal jurisdiction.

 One of the largest Internet-based pyramids prosecuted by the FTC involved
 a company called Fortuna Alliance. The firm promised investors profit of
 at least $5,000 a month on an investment of as little as $250. Thousands
 of investors in 60 countries were drawn in. The FTC filed a complaint
 against Fortuna in 1996, but it took years to recover funds, in part
 because the company stashed millions of dollars in offshore accounts in
 Antigua, in the West Indies.

--

From: <jvtravel7l76h21024 {AT} lycos.com>
To: "INTERNET" <nwalther {AT} xs4all.nl>
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2001 5:00 AM
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