The 411 on 419’s:  Scamming the scammers.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Like many cliches, this one has truth and wisdom (although if you follow it too rigidly, you’ll miss out on some great all-you-can-eat buffets).

Who among us hasn’t received an email like this one:


That leads to something like this:

scam email

To my knowledge, no American has ever made a nickel by lending his identity to a total stranger who claims to be an heir to a multi-million dollar fortune.  Yet the scams persist.  They often emanate from West Africa; they’re commonly known as 419 scams, after a section of the Nigerian penal code.

The typical 419 scam involves a request for some sort of modest fee(s) needed to access that big pot o’ gold. Once the sucker — which could be you, were you not too smart for this sort of thing — remits the fee, the scammers either disappear or ask for more money.

These scams have given rise to SCAMBAITERS who, for their own amusement and that of interet viewers, try to waste scammers’ time in various ways, including having them pose for absurd pictures:

fun yet

Here’s a top ten list of scams-on-the-scammers:
Authorities who try to find and prosecute scammers take a dim view of scambaiters.  If you’re tempted to goof with someone who has approached you with a preposterous inheritance scheme, be sure not to furnish any real info. Create a email address used only for this purpose. And keep this in mind: when you devise ways to waste the scammers’ time, you’re likely wasting some of your own.


Didn’t Abe Lincoln warn us about believing everything we find on the Internet?

Just yesterday, I stumbled across a site called and found this insight into Indiana divorce law:

“Indiana is a mixed state, which means that you can use either fault or no-fault grounds as the basis for seeking a divorce.”

Wrong.  Indiana is a no fault divorce state, period.  Try to inject fault- oriented evidence and see how quickly the judge will blow the whistle on it — unless evidence of, say, adultery, is incidental to a relevant issue.  If, for example, a cheating spouse is cheating with a child molester, and has that person around the kids, the evidence can come in.  The evidence in this example is not about cheating, but about fitness for custody.



“Arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, a showoff. There’s no question that I’m all of those things.”   — Howard Cosell.

HOWARD COSELL for a time juggled two careers — practicing law and broadcasting sports commentary.  Before he devoted his full time to broadcasting (and to a long, symbiotic relationship with Mohammed Ali).  Baseball great Willie Mays was among his legal clients.


His much-parodied, nasal delivery came from beneath a rug that might as well have sported a sticker labeled “rug”.  He died in 1995.  Sports coverage, particularly of football and boxing, has never been the same.


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