Thursday, February 11, 2010

One Twentieth of One Percent

So if you believe "John," supposedly an ex-Nigerian scammer who has come in from the cold (after having spent some time in the clink), about one in two thousand people who find e-mails in their inboxes promising free millions in exchange for helping an African general loot his nation for a fortune wind up sending money, to the average tune of about $7,500.00. He was interviewed by the Scam Detectives site in the U.K., in an occasionally emotional three-part series. It's an interesting enough piece, although there are no great insights to be shared. (But I did find the bit about "wash-wash" scams to be interesting, having never heard of them before.) While "John" does give a high level overview about ways that he would "worm his way" into a target's confidence, it seems like pretty everyday stuff - the sort of thing that any third-grader could come up with, given a few hours and a larcenous heart. Thus I was somewhat disappointed, as I'd been hoping to get a little better insight into how one could be connived into falling for what has always struck me as a blatantly transparent scam. (Although, I have a very suspicious heart - it's the downside of watching the six o'clock news and reading the paper.)

I guess it still strikes me as remarkable (unbelievable, actually) that one in two thousand people would actually believe that for the low, low, price of "$220.00 US Dollars," "FEDEX COURIER SERVICES" will send them package containing the proceeds from a "Confirm able BankDraft of $850,000 United States Dollars," cleverly disguised "as aBOX of Africa cloths." I have a hard time reading these things without bursting into laughter. Of course, not all of this scams are laughing matters, as credulity has sometimes lead to tragedy.

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