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  #1  
Old 19 May 2013, 05:27 PM
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Icon18 The long, weird history of the Nigerian e-mail scam

200 years ago, a near-perfect con was already snagging our imaginations — and wallets:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/201...TlJ/story.html
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  #2  
Old 19 May 2013, 10:20 PM
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I knew they were old, but I didn't realise just how old.
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  #3  
Old 21 May 2013, 01:46 AM
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Last year I downloaded P.T. Barnum's book Humbugs of the World. It's in the public domain so you can get it here. I was amazed at how many of the things he discussed are still going on!
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Old 04 June 2013, 05:40 AM
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In my day it was pigeon drop.You were warned that if anyone approached you with an envelope of money from the PLO or whatever and asked you what to do, you were to tell them "It's your lucky day!" and leave.
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Old 04 June 2013, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
Last year I downloaded P.T. Barnum's book Humbugs of the World.
I'd be careful about believing what you read in it without outside corroboration.
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  #6  
Old 04 June 2013, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by boogers View Post
In my day it was pigeon drop.
On Park Lane the other day (a road in London with lots of extremely expensive hotels, and therefore rich visitors) I saw a man walking towards me stoop down and pick up a large gold ring from the pavement, and then hold it out towards me looking quizzical as if to say "Is this yours?". I clearly hadn't dropped it, as I was walking towards him, but he made sure I saw him pick it up.

I'd read about that scam, so I just said "It's not mine" and smiled and walked on - it's always interesting to see these things in person, though, and know that they actually do happen in reality.

I'm usually quite good at avoiding scams in person, having done enough travelling - I avoided the "special tea ceremony" scam in Shanghai, despite the people with me seeming quite keen to go along; when we got back to where we were staying there was a poster up at reception warning people of exactly that approach, so I felt justified.

I did manage to get taken to a "clip joint" in Istanbul in which you were supposed to buy incredibly expensive drinks for women, but I was only going along with the guy because I couldn't work out exactly what his scam was, and I managed to check a price list as soon as we got there, and confronted him and got away before spending too much. (OK, something like £15 on a small beer that he had ordered for me and I didn't even drink, but that was getting off lightly.)
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Old 07 September 2013, 02:29 AM
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Royalty Meet the ex-'Seinfeld' funnyman turning the tables on ‘Nigerian princes’

Just about anyone with an email account has gotten a missive from someone claiming to be a “Nigerian prince” asking for money and promising a large financial reward in return.

And while the vast majority of us simply ignore the email scams, one man has managed to turn the tables on the aspiring con artists in a very unusual, and funny, way.

Comedian and author Barry Marder actually replies to the Nigerian prince emails.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow...162316356.html
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  #8  
Old 08 September 2013, 12:28 AM
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Richard, I'm not familiar with the gold ring thing.
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  #9  
Old 08 September 2013, 12:49 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeon_drop

There was definitely some sit com that had an episode with it 20 years or so ago. And now I can't remember what it was.
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  #10  
Old 16 September 2013, 11:01 AM
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Like in The Sting: "I just made the word's easiest five grand!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAF9OAO4TtA
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  #11  
Old 16 September 2013, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorro View Post
Richard, I'm not familiar with the gold ring thing.
It was discussed here a while ago, I think. I don't exactly remember the details either. I thought it involved somebody else then claiming you stole it, but it seems I was wrong - the finder agrees to let you keep it (knowing it's "not really yours") if you'll split it with him, or give him a nominal reward of £20 or so:

http://kensington.londoninformer.co....gold-ring.html

Quote:
The ring might look and feel like gold, but is nothing more than a cheap piece of metal, often a pipe joint ring used by plumbers, which can be bought at a DIY shop for a couple of pounds.

This type of scam is more commonly seen on the streets of Paris where it originated, but last week, a 19 year-old Romanian was arrested in Kensington after being caught red-handed using it.

Last Thursday (8) at 12.30pm, two plain clothes police officers were on patrol when they saw Danut Cirneala of no fixed address, walk towards a 54 year-old man using a pay and display machine in Brunswick Gardens.

The officers saw Cirneala bend down and pick up a yellow metal ring from the floor and approach the victim to ask if the ring was his.

The victim replied that it was not, and he was offered the ring for less than £20.
The guy was definitely trying to pull that scam - that's exactly what happened, although on the other side of Hyde Park from Kensington. I didn't get to the stage where he offered to sell it to me.


Here's an approach I avoided in Copenhagen. I'm not sure what the scam would have been other than "drug me and steal all my stuff"... I was sitting at a table outside a seedy bar in Christiania with a beer, smoking the tail end of a spliff, when a guy with a sports bag came and asked if he could sit there and made a big show of introducing himself and wanting to shake hands (I didn't at first, but then did). He asked if he could have a puff on the joint - and ended up smoking nearly all the rest, although I wasn't that bothered.

Then, after a bit of a chat of the kind con artists use, he asked if I wanted some ecstasy. I said I didn't, and he asked if I minded if he took some, and made a big show of showing me the packet (wrapped up like some mints) and the pill and that he was swallowing it. He asked again if I was sure I didn't want any, then when I still said no, finished my joint and left.

All very friendly, and ostensibly he was just trying to sell ecstasy, but no dealer would go through all that rigmarole. A proper dealer would just have said "ecstasy?" and moved on when I said "no". No need for the fake friendliness.

Perhaps he only wanted some free dope, but I certainly wasn't going to find out...
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  #12  
Old 17 September 2013, 11:10 AM
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Strange that they would use a "pipe joint ring used by plumbers" when you can get a more "ringy" looking ring somewhere like Claire's Accessories, or just in a charity shop for £2 or less. I suppose for the purposes of the news story it just highlights the trickery: it's not even a real ring!
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