Scam Warrior Super Hero

Scammers, Scammers Everywhere

I'm in Despair

Internet Scams Are Everywhere

The internet Abounds with Scams

I find (almost) all of them funny. They are so ridiculous that I automatically think "how could anyone possibly fall for this?"

And yet people do.

The Nigerian Scam (originally the Nigerian Prince Scam and before that the Spanish Prisoner Scam) has been around forever, long before the internet.

But it made the technological jump to the very early days of the internet and email. What an opportunity. A free method of contacting millions of people!

Quite aside from the emails being laughably obvious, you'd think EVERYONE would have heard of the Nigerian scam by now.

Yet every year, people still lose literally millions of dollars to it or one of its many look-alikes.

Why Do People Still Fall for Them?

Scams Are Not Signposted

Scams Are Not Signposted

Unfortunately, we still have a tendency to believe what we read and many people simply don't have the knowledge to recognize the poor grammar and awkward modes of expression frequently use in scam emails. Sometimes the markers can be subtle (though most of the time they aren't).

Sometimes people are fooled by the use of a genuine trademark or company logo, without realizing that anyone can screenshot one from the company's website and that it means absolutely nothing. Illegal of course, but that's not going to be an issue for a scammer, is it?

But there are other reasons as well.

There Are Many Theories

  • No matter how aware we think everyone must be, there are still a few people online who haven’t heard of it. That’s one of the main reasons why the scam is still successful.
  • People still need to believe in fairytales in spite of living in a digital and mostly disenchanted age. It’s very tempting to think a financial boon which can turn your life around will fall from the sky, especially with the help of a dying widow who wants to help others or a government official needing to transfer funds.
  • There's a Western tendency to assume the situation in the rest of the world is much more barbaric than it actually is and to believe in drastic regime changes and a political instability so high that former government ministers are desperate for your help in securing their nest egg.

Romantic Scams

People Still Fall for Scams

Regrettably, the strategy isn't just about tantalizing with prospects of immense wealth. It also involves offering the hope of happiness and companionship. In these romance scams, Nigerian students focus on Western individuals who are either widowed or divorced, typically between the ages of 45 and 75. These individuals are often more vulnerable to feelings of loneliness and are likely to have disposable income.

These scammers primarily reach their targets via online dating platforms, appealing to those actively seeking romantic connections. However, their tactics aren't limited to these sites; they also venture into other social networks, including professional platforms like LinkedIn.

The scammers typically masquerade as someone who matches the age and background of their target, but claim to be from a different Western country. This allows them to maintain communication in English. Their approach involves making promises of a lasting relationship and working to build a genuine connection. Given the often superficial and challenging nature of the Western dating scene, their attentiveness and sincerity can seem refreshing and endearing to the victims, leading them to develop a strong attachment to the scammer's fabricated identity.

Once a significant emotional bond has been established, and plans to meet and start a life together are in place, the scammer creates a crisis scenario requiring financial assistance, such as a frozen bank account, a serious accident or simply assistance with air fare (a loan to be repaid, of course).

Although this method is time-consuming for the scammer, it tends to be more effective. The request for financial aid comes at a point where the victim has developed a deep trust and emotional connection, making them more likely to comply.

Scam Email Examples

There's not much I can do to correct these belief systems or to educate potential victims out of them.

What I can do is copy and post the many scam emails I receive daily (read, chuckle, delete) in the hope that people will read them and recognize their similarity to ones they have received themselves.

And not fall for them.

I'll list these under the above menu item "EMAIL SCAMS".