This showed up in the spamtraps today:

Subject: Truth of the matter

Dear Sir,

This letter can only define Nigeria Scam, a.k.a. 419. If this mail look like scam to you delete it, we are looking for serious minded person.

As we all know, top officials do loot funds out of the country with non-residence foreigners. When they try and fail, the world hears it as fraud/scam, but when they go through, nobody or a newspaper writes it.

This trade is huge here and people are making lots of money out there in most foreign countries. Though the government are mapping out sophisticated strategies to checkmate unauthorized dealers. From the president to the cleaner in the house, they are all into this trade.

And so on.

This has got to be the most brazen variation I’ve seen — and the first one that admits what it is up front. Of course it goes on to try to convince you that no, this one’s the real thing, we’re only trying to cheat other people, not you, because you wouldn’t fall for that sort of thing, would you?

I’m trying to figure out whether the proper response to this is “WTF” or “O_o” or just “Unbe-flipping-lievable.”

8 thoughts on “Points for honesty?

  1. they always link these scams to acountry where 5% of the populations is white rich people and the rest of the country is less than third world.

  2. Probably because these are the only places that folks living in countries rich enough for widespread daily computer use are willing to believe have governments and legal systems messed-up enough to allow the setup for the scam to happen in the first place.

  3. Nigeria itself is a focal point, though, and depending on who you believe, the government and law enforcement is either unable to control it, or actively complicit. And it’s big money — according to that last link, it’s the third to fifth largest industry in the country!

    Over the last year or so, I’ve been seeing more and more that refer to other African countries, or countries in the Middle East (including the occasional former Soviet republic). Always third-world, usually with political strife, often someplace that’s been in the news recently so that marks will recognize it and so that they can link to BBC or CNN news stories for added realism. Liberia was very popular for a while, and Iraq is also showing up. Often the author claims to be an attorney or accountant based somewhere more first-world, generally Europe, but I’ve also seen Kuwait and Hong Kong.

    Then there’s the “international lottery” variant, which is generally based (or claims to be) in Europe. Again, it’s all about perception. You would expect people in Europe to have money to give away in a lottery, but not in Nigeria, a corrupt governmental official trying to smuggle money out of the country sounds so much more plausible in Nigeria than in Europe. (In Europe, you’d wonder why they didn’t just get a Swiss bank account instead of contacting random strangers.)

  4. But WHY do people think that all this could happen without someone covering it? I’m sure at least one news network would cover it. If it was a slow news day.

  5. […] It’s usually a third-world country, often one with political strife, so that the average westerner won’t be too suspicious of the level of corruption implied. You never see this scam claiming to come from, say, France, or Japan, because the process would set off too many alarm bells. Someone needing to transfer that much money would either do it through normal banking channels or through organized crime—not by firing off an email to some random citizen in a foreign country. […]

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