Scam busters turn the tables on those running the Nigerian scam


Beloved One,

I have the Courage to Crave Indulgence for this most opportune business venture...

Look familiar? A day doesn't go by day that I don't receive an e-mail from people with names like Dr. Fortunate Goodpence or Mrs. Pius Motubo soliciting my aid in recovering millions from banks in Nigeria, if only I just sent a little money to get started. Which means I greet each morning with the same thought: who still falls for this crap?

Modern advance-fee scams, commonly called 419 scams after the number of the Nigerian Criminal Code, have been around for over twenty-five years, but exploded with the growth of the internet. So you'd think we'd all be wise to them, yet the latest statistics available show that worldwide losses to these kind of scams topped $4.3 billion in 2007 - and those were just the ones reported. Because, let's face it, losing money due to greed and a sense of colonial superiority to Africans is super embarrassing.