Friday, October 08, 2004

Scams - Nigerian and Iraqi ones 

I have to confess I'm a bit of collector of Nigerian scam emails. I must have by now at least 1,000 examples of this "developing world's ingenuity meets the developed world's naivete" phenomenon, coming from just about every country in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, from every relative of every newsworthy deposed dictator, and from every real and fictional banking and government institution from Lagos to Lahore. I've seen it all, yet there's always something new out there to amuse me, like the latest one "FROM THE DESK OF BARRISTER, WILLIAM SMITH", associated, of course, with "the NIGERIAN NATIONAL PETROLUM COPORATION":

"I am BARRISTER WILLIAM SMITH, a personal Attorney to Mr. Hasan Farouk, and a National of your Country. He was also a Contractor with one of the Government Prostates."
I understand that in some countries you need to do a lot of ass-kissing to get a good job, but this strikes me as a bit too much.

Judging by the
recent revelations, quite a few foreign governments must have answered one of these emails:



"This letter might come as a surprise to you, as we are both complete strangers. I got your name and contacts from a business associate of mine who recommends you as a trustworthy person. Due to my position as President of the Republic of Iraq, and due to generosity of the United Nations, I'm in a position to search discreetly and diligently for a foreign partner that could assist us concerning a business matter, which will be of mutual benefit to all. We do require your assistance in the disposition of some US$10,000,000,000.00 (ten Billion United State Dollars) coming into our account as part of the Food For Oil programme."
It was a scam, alright, but the proposal was real. You could even say that the email reproduced above is fake but accurate.

Update: Speaking of Nigerian and other scams, readers recommend 419 Eater - a website about annoying the scammers and maybe even scamming them in return.


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