Monday, December 08, 2008


Nigerian scams work

Bloggers are calling her the stupidest woman alive, which is perhaps unfair. The most gullible, maybe, or most naïve. In any case, a woman from Sweet Home, Oregon is making big news for having sent about $400,000 to Nigerian scammers, in one small increment after another:

A Sweet Home woman has fallen prey to an international network of professional scam artists, and now she’s working with a money management service to climb out of $400,000 in debt.

“As a reverend and an American, I just wasn’t prepared for that level of dishonesty,” said Janella Spears.

Spears, a nursing administrator in Lebanon and a volunteer at Sweet Home Community Chapel, lost the huge sum of money through many small payments to various e-mail scammers that claimed to be from Canada, Texas, Africa and other places.

She’s been defrauded by people claiming to represent banks, credit companies, her relatives, the police and even the FBI.

It’s hard to imagine how she could not have heard of this before, how she could continue to believe it, how she could believe that she would be getting personal messages from the head of the FBI and the President of the United States, and how she could ignore the advice of everyone from friends to police, who were telling her that it was a scam.

But if you’ve ever wondered why the scammers persist in sending out those ridiculous messages... there’s why.


Ray said...

I'm not sure quite what to say. Now, I obviously don't know all the details, but every single one of these scam emails I have ever received worked on the greed principle - that there was some ungodly amount of money headed my way if I would just provide a few details and some transaction expenses.

As for the level of debt she got herself into, it sounds a lot like a losing gambler who *knows* he is going to win big on the next pull of the lever. But $400,000??? You'd think she would have had an inkling after, oh I don't know, say the first hundred thousand?

It is truly remarkable.

Barry Leiba said...

Yes. I think that once one gets into it, one must start thinking, "I've put in this much, so I can't stop now or I really will lose it all." So it's a question of accepting that it's completely bogus, and you will lose it all no matter what.

And I guess it takes some people longer to take that last step and accept the losses.

Laurie said...

P.T. Barnum was right, and that adds up to a lot of suckers.

I just looked up some of his other quotes. Every crowd has a silver lining could work, too.