Oh, those wacky Nigerian princes and their tales of lost fortunes. If only they had your help! But they don't, of course, because anybody with half a brain can see through the scam. And that's the key to the scheme, one Microsoft researcher says in a 14 page report about Nigerian scams; the fantastic stories serve to screen out skeptical folks, leaving the scammers free to pick off the low-hanging fruit that responds to wild emails from African royalty.
Hard as it might be to believe, people are still falling for the classic Nigerian 419 scam. Consider that federal prosecutors have charged 10 people with various crimes for allegedly scamming U.S. victims out of a combined $1.5 million. Claudio Uche Dibe, the 25-year-old accused ringleader, tried to avoid arrest by fleeing to Canada in 2009, but was extradited last month and is now being charged with 15 counts of wire fraud.