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Scam Baiting Terminology
(terms that scam baiters use or might find useful)

I'd like to thank the members of these forums who contributed many of the scam baiting terms listed on this page:
scam baiting terminology
Scam baiting terms

419 Scams (Nigerian Scams, Email Scams) - Advance fee fraud conducted primarily online and by email. Named after the 419th article of the Nigerian criminal code pertaining to fraud.

419er - A generic term for a perpetrator of 419 scams.

Advance-Fee Fraud (AFF) - A scam in which a victim is persuaded to advance relatively small sums of money in the hope of realizing a much larger gain. For example - a victim is told he has won millions in a lottery and only needs to pay a $2,000 processing fee to collect the winnings.

ASEM - Stands for "Anonymously Sent E-Mail" or "Accidentally Sent E-Mail" depending on who you ask. It involves pretending to "mistakenly" send emails to scammers meant for someone else. Ideally, the email is supposed to look like you're in the middle of a lucrative transaction.

Anti-Terrorism Certificate - Fictional document that scammers often ask for as part of a scam. Intended victims are told that a payment for an "Anti-Terrorist Certificate" is required to allow a international money transfer to be made. In reality, there are no organizations that require such certificates.

Burn - Anything that a baiter does that harms, annoys, insults or delays a scammer. On some baiter websites "Burn" describes the act of directly telling a scammer they've been baited. There are several types of "burns" listed near the bottom of this page.

BTA (Basic Travel Allowance) - One of many fees that scammers try to collect from victims. This is the money a scammer might require before he can travel to meet with the victim.

Bait - The act of scam baiting. (See "Scam Baiting".) Can also be short for "Bait Thread".

Bait Thread - Written correspondence between a baiter and scammer.

Baiter - Short for "Scam Baiter". A person who uses any of a variety of techniques to annoy, harm, or waste the time of a scammer. Usually by responding to fraudulent emails.

Baiter Account - Email accounts set up by baiters from which they bait the scammers.

Badger (BADger) - A person who baits baiters. Similar to how baiters bait scammers. (Annoying, but very rare.)

Bagman (Bag Man) - Person the scammers send to pick up money.

Bait Number - Phone number used exclusively for scam baiting. 
Blood in the water (smell blood, smell blood in the water) - If a victim is foolish enough to send a scammer any money at all (even a very small amount) this very often triggers a flood of other email scams by other scammers.
Consignment - Term used by scammers for a non-existent valuable object or package that they promise to send to a victim. For example: "The gold consignment of 900 bars will be shipped to your address as soon as you pay the $5,000 shipping fee."

Catcher Account - Email account set up by a baiter for the purpose of attracting 419 scam emails.

Dot-con - Trendy name for a website created for the purpose of scamming people. For example - a fake online bank.

Dead Bait - A bait that appears to have stopped permanently. For example the scammer's email address no longer works or the scammer has not responded for a very long time.

Don Juan - A scammer who preys on the romantic desires of women through chat-sites and email.

Demurrage - Used to describe surcharges or fees that accumulate over time on an item that has been in storage because it has not yet been picked up. Scammers often claim that demurrages have been imposed by banks and security companies on valuable consignments or trunkboxes stored in vaults.

Email Scams - Fraudulent offers sent to victims by email.

EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) - Nigerian government agency who's job it is to arrest scammers and to try and return money to victims.
Scammers frequently pose as EFCC agents offering help to victims... for a price.

Fat Boris - Male scammers, from the former Soviet Union, who pose as attractive lonely women. They troll date sites looking for victims to inflict romance scams upon.

Flash Money - Imaginary money that appears temporarily in a victim's bank account following the deposit of a fake check or a fraudulent electronic transfer. The purpose of flash money is to convince the victim into believing the scammer is legitimate. Often the scammer wants the victim to send him a percentage of the flash money as real money, usually by money transfer. When the bank eventually discovers that the original cheque or electronic transfer was fraudulent - the credit gets reversed and the victim is held accountable for the loss.

Format - Category of scam. For example: "Wash-wash Format", "Romance Format", "Inheritance format", etc...

IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) - IC3's website
describes its self as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer cyber crime complaints. They claim to provide victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations. The truth is that the IC3 is nothing more than a statistic gathering joke, and a poor one at that. They do not actively pursue 419 criminals. Nor do they really help victims who's lives have been devastated by scammers.

Lad - What baiters call scammers. Short for "Lads from Lagos". (See "Lagos".)

Ladette - A female scammer. (Very rare. The vast majority of 419 scammers are male.)

Lagos - The largest city in Nigeria. It contains the highest concentration of 419 scammers in the world.

Ladland (Lad-land) - Collectively refers to places where 419 scammers significantly outnumber victims. (Examples include: Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Cote D'Ivoire/Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Senegal.) Also refers to the mind-set of scammers. For example: "In ladland everyone is a potential target for a scam." (See also: "Normalland")

Ladgerian - Refers to a Lad (scammer) who is also Nigerian.

Lad Leach - A web-based program designed to needlessly burn bandwidth from websites owned by scammers.

Ladspeak - The slang/terminology that scammers use when talking with each other. It sometimes slips out when talking with baiters and victims. Much of it is Pidgin (the language of Nigeria).

LEO - Law Enforcement Officer.

Mugu - What baiters use to refer to the scammers that they bait. The word translates into "big fool". (It is also a word that many 419 scammers call their victims.)

Money Transfer (Wire Transfer) - Method of transferring money from one person to another. Scammers usually request that payments be made using a wire transfer service like Western Union and Moneygram. The reason given by the scammer will be the speed at which the payment can be received and processed, allowing quick release of the supposed payoff. The real reason is that wire transfers and similar methods of payment are irreversible, untraceable and, because identification beyond knowledge of the details of the transaction is often not required, completely anonymous.

MoneyGram - Money transfer company used  by scammers, but less preferred then Western Union as the validity cannot be checked online. For this reason baiters prefer to use (or prefer to pretend to use) MoneyGram over Western Union.

Money Mule (Check Mule) - Someone who allows his bank account to be used for the transfer of illegal funds. Sometimes it is an accomplice or a relative of the scammer. Sometimes it is a person who is unaware that they are being used for something illegal.

Mark - The person being tricked. Victims are the marks of scammers. Scammers are the marks of baiters.

Monday and Tuesday Rush - It has been observed that scammers are more likely to email and call on Mondays and Tuesdays. Presumably they are catching up on correspondence that has been piling up on the weekend.

Modalities (modality) - Used by baiters to describe the type of bait or battle-plan being used against a scammer. (Among scammers "modality" is used to describe the methods of scam they run.)

Miseducation - Fooling a scammer into learning the wrong definition or usage of a word. For example - convincing a scammer that "prick" is a term of endearment. Or that "fag" is a synonym for "honest".

Massbait - When a group of scam baiters join forces to attack one scammer. Sometimes joining stories together in order to back each other up.

MTCN (money transfer control number) - 10 digit number given to customers at Western Union when they send money. The MTCN is required for online tracking of the money that was sent.

Mush-mouth - A scammer who speaks poorly, indistinctly and mumbles. (Most scammers have this problem.)

Nigeria - Wretchedly poor, extremely corrupt, grossly incompetent African nation that is home to (or the country of origin of) approximately 95% of the world's 419 scammers.

Nigerian Scams - 419 scams that originate in Nigeria.

Newbie - Someone who is new to the art/sport of scam baiting.

Necro Attempt - When an attempt is made to bring a dead bait back to life. Often this is done by emailing the old scammer with a new persona.

Normalland - Collectively refers to places where 419 victims significantly outnumber scammers. (Examples include: United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Spain, Korea, Brazil, Pakistan, Mexico, India, etc...) (See also: "Ladland")

PTA (Personal Travel Allowance) - see "BTA"

Pet - The scammer that a given baiter is most fond of. (On some baiter forums "pet" is a synonym for scammer.)

Personas - Fake identities used by baiters and scammers. Typically each persona has his own email address.

Pidgin - The language that Nigerian scammers use when talking with each other. It sometimes slips out when talking with baiters and victims. It is a hybrid of the Queen's English (Nigeria was once a British colony) with numerous words from Igbo and other tribal languages such as Biafran, Yoruba and Hausa. 
Real Seal Of Truth
(RSOT) - Official looking (usually red) emblems that resemble the "wax seals" that were once melted onto official documents with the purpose of authenticating them. Scammers often add RSOTs to documents as a way to make them appear less fraudulent. This term is also often broadly used to refer to any official-looking emblem, icon, crest, badge, design, symbol or other distinctive image that a scammer might add to his forged documents. ( Example )  

Reshipper - Many companies will not send merchandise to places like Nigeria or other west African nations due to warnings about stolen credit card purchases or past experiences. So scammers must often retain the services of a "reshipper", who lives in the victim's country, to receive stolen goods and then reship them to the scammers. Most of the time the reshipper is an accomplice or a relative of the scammer. Sometimes the reshipper is a person who is unaware that they are being used for something illegal.

Rant (Lad Rant) - When a scammer, usually after he realizes he has been baited, writes a angry email to the baiter consisting mostly of profane insults and empty treats. (Examples)

RL (R/L) - Real Life. Example: "Baiters should never share RL info with scammers."

Slap - When a baiter insults or "puts down" a scammer. Also when a baiter asserts himself and puts the scammer "in his place".

Script - Pre-written material that scammers use in response to emails.

Scam Baiting (Baiting, Scam-Baiting, Scambaiting) - Harassing an email scammer, particularly one running a 419 advance fee fraud scheme, by feigning interest in the scam and then tricking the scammer into performing costly, silly or time-wasting tasks.

Scam Baiter (Baiter) - Person who practices scam baiting.

Sting - An elaborate bait. Often stings involve multiple baiters or one baiter using multiple personas.

Suncrafter - Usually refers to a very enthusiastic and accommodating lover. Can also refer to a baiter (or any person) who is unusually positive and cheerful.

Safe Baiting - The practice of taking sensible precautions when scam baiting to prevent scammers from discovering one's true identity. Such as never using your real name, address and phone number.

Swift Code - "SWIFT" stands for "Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication." Unique bank identifier codes approved by the ISO. Used primarily for international wire transfers. Can be 8 to 11 characters. Also known as BIC code. Scammers often request these from baiters and victims.

Troll - Searching for something online with a nefarious or unwholesome motives. Scammers troll the Internet for victims. Men troll websites for porn. Etc...

Tard-Typer - A scammer who's writing style and spelling are poor. (Most scammers have this problem.)

TWURP or "tWURP" (The Western Union Real Payment) - Scam baiting method that gives the false impression to the scammer that the baiter has sent the money the scammer has requested. First the baiter visits to Western Union and sends himself just $1.00 (doing so will costs about $14.00 in fees). Next the baiter sends the scammer the MTCN and control numbers, but intentionally neglects to send the Question and the Answer. The scammer can use the MTCN to confirm that real money was actually sent, but the amount is not disclosed. Without the Question and Answer the scammer is not able to get the money out. So naturally the scammer is much more likely to do what the baiter asks of him to get the Question and Answer. If you use this method - please remember to give Western Union false information and don't use your real name and address. WU does not care if you use your real identity - they only check the ID of people receiving the money, not the people who send it. A TWURP will remain in the system for up to two years.

TWIT or "tWIT" (The Western Union Intercepted Transfer) - When a TWURP payment is pulled by the baiter and THEN the baiter sends the scammer the question and answer needed to get the money. The baiter then can claim that some other scammer got to the money first. This frustrates and angers the scammer - making him think he has been "Dolla-chopped" - but maintains the illusion that the baiter is still a real victim.

Tranny - A male scammer who is pretending to be female. (See also "Fat Boris")

Trophies - Evidence that a baiter can show as proof that he has successfully annoyed a scammer. Usually trophies take the form of email transcripts, photos and phone recordings.

Trunkbox (Trunk Box) - Scammers often entice victims with stories of "trunk boxes" that are filled with cash, gold dust, diamonds, etc...

Training a Pet - Refers to a baiter masterfully manipulating a scammer into (figuratively) "jumping through hoops" for him.

VAT (Value Added Tax) - One of many fees that scammers try to collect from victims. A VAT is real in some countries for certain financial transactions.

Vlads - Scammers from the former Soviet Union (Rare. They mostly work with scams that have a romantic angle to them.)

Weekend Slow Down - It has been observed that, during the weekends, their is a significant drop in the number of scammers calling and emailing baiters. Evidently scammers like to take weekends off.

WUXFER - Western Union transfer.

Western Union - Money transfer company most preferred by scammers because the validity of a transfer can be checked online.

"Ladspeak" (slang and terminology used by 419 scammers.)

Azas (AZAs) - What scammers call bank account information such as swift codes, banking address, account numbers, etc...

Bobo - Scammer term for a someone they think is "cool".

Bust (busted, busting) - Means "to end", stop or terminate. As in "The bank bust the job." or "My Yahoo account was busted by a joker."

Chairman (Chair) - Middle manager in a 419 gang's hierarchy. He takes orders from the Oga, but gives orders to Guymen.

Clients - Euphemism used by scammers to describe their victims.

Chop - To steal, rob or snatch.

Dolla-chop - Hijacking somebody else's illegally-gotten gains. This happens when a scammer believes he is about to collect a wire transfer, but discovers that it has been stolen by another (smarter) scammer before he could claim it.

Flash of Account - To cause the victim's bank account to temporarily show a large credit. This is intended to induce the victim to believe in the deal and send money.

G man - Scammer term of reverence.

Guyman (Guy) - What scammers call themselves.

Job - Euphemism used by scammers to refer to a scam.

Joker (Gmail Joker) - What 419 scammers call scam baiters.

Jokemen (Jokeman) - What 419 scammers call scam baiters.

Levels - Refers to types of scams. For example when a scammer asks "what levels?" he is asking what types of 419 scams can the other person help with. Examples of levels are wash-wash, come-carry, come-marry, fake checks, etc...

Mugu - What 419 scammers call their victims. The word translates into "big fool". It is also a word that many baiters use to refer to the scammers that they bait.

Maga (Also: mugun, mahi, magha, mahee, mayi, mayee, mgbada, mumu) - Terms used by 419 scammers when referring to their victims.

Modalities (modality) - Among scammers "modality" is used to describe the types and methods of scam they run. (It is also used by baiters to describe the type of bait or battle-plan being used against a scammer.)

Naira - The currency of Nigeria. (Its abreviation is "NGN") At the time of this publication the value of 1 Nigerian Naira (NGN) = 0.0068 US Dollar (USD) or 1 US Dollar = 146.8429 Nigerian Naira. (This term is rarely mentioned by Nigerian scammers to victims as they prefer to deal in the victim's native currency.)

Oga - Scammer term for the leader of a 419 gang.

ooooooooooooooo - Strings of "o"s are used to indicate "great excitement" in west-African Internet-speak and are often substituted for exclamation marks.

Pidgin - Refers to the language that Nigerian scammers use when talking with each other. It sometimes slips out when talking with baiters and victims. It is a hybrid of the Queen's English (Nigeria was once a British colony) with numerous words from Igbo and other tribal languages such as Biafran, Yoruba and Hausa. If you would like a Pidgin word translated that is not listed - try this online tool for baiters =

Yahooze - Term, used mostly by scammers, as a synonym for online fraud. Named after Yahoo which is the free email service used most frequently by scammers. Used to refer to both the act of online fraud and the scammer lifestyle in general.

Working Name - Scammer term for the fake name they have given to a potential victim.

Types of Baits:

All baits have the goal of wasting the scammer's time and resources. But there are many methods for doing so. Here are some of the most common "flavors" of baits:

Straight Bait - Where the baiter plays the part of a typical victim acting in a way that the scammer more or less expects a victim to act. The baiter never gives the scammer what he ultimately wants, but trys to give him false hope for as long as possible.

Church Bait - The baiter gets the scammer to join their "church" and perform various feats of conversion and membership.

Phone Baits - Same as email scam baiting but verbal instead of written. Useful for adding authenticity to a bait and often the source of highly entertaining recordings.

Safari Bait - The baiter trys to trick the scammer into traveling to some far away location to retrieve money or something else of value. Sometimes the scammer gets stranded on their safari because they counted on the money to get them home. No money, no trip home. Many baiters only consider a safari bait successful if the scammer is tricked into traveling at least 200 miles (round trip) or fooled into crossing an international border. 

Art Baits - The baiter gets the scammer to create a piece of art in hopes of getting paid for their efforts. This can generate interesting trophies for the baiter if successful.

Business Baits - The baiter gets the scammer to do all of the leg work necessary to start a business in their country. Searching out acceptable sites, concept drawings, permit process, etc...

Treasure Hunt Baits - The scammer is told that there is a treasure buried or hidden some place. This can lead to a safari depending on where the treasure is located.

Cash Bait - When a baiter successfully steals money away from a scammer. A reverse con. Cash Baiting is illegal. While I personally have no moral problem what so ever with seeing a scammer swindled out of his ill-gotten cash, technically this constitutes wire fraud, which is a felony.

Freight Bait - When the scam baiter tricks the scammer into paying the shipping charges for something valuable and then ships him a bunch of worthless items instead. An example of this would be if the scammer sends a fake check to a scam baiter in exchange for a new computer, but the baiter refuses to send the computer unless the scammer pays for the shipping (usually through UPS or DHL). When the freight company comes for the item - the baiter gives them a box containing worthless junk. Here is a video about Freight Baits -

Types of Burns:

A "burn" is anything that a baiter does that harms, annoys, insults or delays a scammer. Examples include:

Transfer Burn - Instances in which the baiter has tricked the scammer into traveling needlessly to the MoneyGram office or bank to cash a non-existent money transfer.

Airport Burn - Instances in which the baiter has tricked the scammer into traveling needlessly to the airport to pick up a non-existent victim. 

Phone Burn - Instance where a baiter has tricked a scammer into making a long-distance phone call.

Photo Burn - Instance where a baiter has tricked a scammer into taking a unique photo that the scammer has requested. For example a baiter might request a photo from a scammer of him holding a sign that says "I Love Tasukdik".

Postage Burn - Instance where a baiter has tricked a scammer into spending money on postage or into paying for shipping costs.

Mama Burn - To insult a scammer's mother.

Safari Burn (Sometimes just called "safari") - Tricking a scammer into traveling over 200 miles (round trip) or getting them to cross a border.

Goodbye Burn - When a baiter, usually after a long bait, reveals to the scammer that he has been scam baiting him the whole time. This is usually done in an insulting and derogatory manner designed to humiliate the scammer. NOTE: Some baiters discourage this as it may serve to educate the scammer.

Bed Time Burn - When a baiter calls a scammer every 20 minutes while the scammer trys to sleep.

Arrest Burn - When a baiter tricks a scammer into doing something that gets the scammer arrested. This is very difficult to do and is considered the "holy grail" of scam baiting.

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