Scamming the Nigerian scammers

April 30, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Paul Kinsella is a fascinating fellow.   Though he is not with any branch of law enforcement, he has taken it on himself to delve into the tactics of the Nigerian scammers.  You know, they might as well be called Nigerian spammers.  And, believe it or not, though most of us simply delete those emails, over the course of a year many people fall for the scam and they lose substantial money in the process.

Kinsella is featured in “Master Baiter,” a detailed and entertaining article written by Nicolas Phillips and published in this week’s Riverfront Times.   Kinsella, a 37-year old Illinois native as well as a father of two, scams the scammers with gusto.  And he loves to tell them that they’ve been scammed by him.   Kinsella has often tried  (and sometimes succeeded) in convincing the scammers that he wants to work with them to rip off victims.   Check out Kinsella’s website ( see many of the flavors of the scams, along with the people running them. Quite impressive.   He must spend incredible numbers of hours running his operation.  The payoff?  He has learned of the identities of 26 potential victims and prevented 14 of them from actually paying the money.   To see the FTC’s warnings about the Nigerian scams, go here.

image: FTC (public domain)

image: FTC (public domain)

Kinsella is multifaceted.  He intentionally dropped 100 fake-lost-wallets to see how honest people were (74 were returned), resulting in a lot of publicity.   He’s also a cartoonist and . . . oh yeah, consider this other service he offers:

He also created, which works like this: For $5 a word, you write a telegram to a deceased loved one. Kinsella then arranges for a terminally ill person to memorize the message and pass it along.

As I learned from my days working as an Assistant Attorney General, it takes a scammer to catch a scammer.

Check out the article in the RFT.  It’s full of facts, figures and entertaining vignettes about Kinsella, the Nigerian scams and much more.


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Category: law and order, snake oil

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. I am the webmaster of

    Thank you for this article. Stories like this one help to warn people about Nigerian scams.

  2. Dean Propps says:

    I don’t know how to get the mails stopped, half the time they go to spam and the other half well, i have to look at daily and I want to help fight back, let me know what i can do to help?? Thanks, i know i’m not the only one now. I’m still paying $125/monthly to my bank for checks i received and spent some of the money. It takes a big chunk of my disability and now i live on $805/monthly. Thay 125 would almost make my mobile home payment.
    Love your site, just wish It would all go away.

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