from the good-or-bad? dept
There’s a fascinating article in the Washington Post about the impact of the worldwide financial crisis on Nigerian 419 scammers. However, I have to admit, that I’m a bit confused about the article, which seems to state two totally contradictory things. First, that it’s more difficult to be a Nigerian scammer these days since Americans don’t have as much money — but then at the same time, that Americans are falling for the scam more easily these days since they’re desperate for money. I don’t see how both can be true. Two quotes from the article:
“We are working harder. The financial crisis is not making it easy for them over there,” said Banjo, 24, speaking about Americans, whose trust he has won and whose money he has fleeced, via his Dell laptop. “They don’t have money. And the money they don’t have, we want.”
And then, just two paragraphs later:
U.S. authorities say Americans — the easiest prey, according to Nigerian scammers — lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year to cybercrimes, including a scheme known as the Nigerian 419 fraud, named for a section of the Nigerian criminal code. Now financially squeezed, Americans succumb even more easily to offers of riches, experts say.
And then, just a bit later, the scammers again complain that times are harder, and profits are down 40%.
So… um… which is it? Has it become more difficult or easier than ever? Isn’t that the sort of thing that a newspaper reporter would be expected to search out and let us know? Not the Washington Post, apparently. It just tells us both are true and lets everyone else figure it out!
While, personally, I still can’t figure out how anyone is still fooled by such scams after so many years of them being talked and written about, the article does suggest that the scammers themselves are easily scammed. This, of course, will come as no surprise at all to the group of folks who have fun scambaiting 419 scammers, but the article notes that scammers who are having a tough time are quickly throwing down lots of cash on magic potions, powders and artifacts to help them perform better as scammers:
Banjo said, he has traveled six hours to the forest, where a magician sells scam-boosters. A $300 powder supposedly helps scammers “speak with authority” when demanding payment. A powder, rubbed on the face, reportedly makes victims viewing the scammer through webcams powerless to say no.
“No matter what, they will pay,” said Olumide, a college student, adding that he is boosting his romance scams by wearing a magical, live tortoise hanging from a cord around his neck.
So, scam baiters, it seems like perhaps you should be selling such things right back to the scammers.