Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nigeria Wants Scam Victims Prosecuted

An e-mail arrives to the In-Box. The subject line says something like, "RE:IMMEDIATE PAYMENT NOTIFICATION FROM OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY(FRN)". Actually, that's exactly how the subject line in today's Nigerian scam email reads that I received only hours ago. We all get them no matter how strict our security software.

The email goes on to say -

Attention has been brought to us in form of a petition as regards the contracts which were completed and awaiting payment. Let me first inundate you with the fact that based on the petition forwarded to the Senate Committee on Foreign Financial Matters, which the copy of the petition was forwarded to the office of the Executive President Federal Republic Of Nigeria (FRN). I wish to intimate you, that it was discovered in the petition that the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry Of Finance (FMF) headed by Professor Charles Soludo and Dr Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iwealla has part of effort to frustrate foreign contractors deliberately without releasing the approved contract payment to the beneficiary.
I like the part where I will be inundated with facts. So very rare these days.

Nigeria has become famous and notorious for these kinds of bogus opportunities and the "Nigerian Government frowns very seriously on these scams... and every day tries to track down those who are involved," Olu Agbi told the Sydney Morning Herald as reported in Ars Technica.

Nigeria is a nation of 140 million people and less than 0.1% are involved in the scam racket. The advance-fee frauds, also called 419 scams, are older than the Internet which has created a growth market for the scammers. They promise riches or big rewards or true love, but first a good faith deposit of a few hundred dollars must be sent ti them. If the scammed individual is lucky, it ends there. Often it goes on until the victim is bled dry of all their money.

Nigerian officials have been fighting this crime for decades in and out of Nigeria in cooperation with law enforcement agencies all over the world. Now they are turning their attention to scam victims.

Nigerian high commissioner Sunday Olu Agbi said, "People who send their money are as guilty as those who are asking them to send the money." Nigeria, he said, has got a bad reputation from the 419 scams perpetrated by a very small number of people. And more so from the even larger number of people around the world who fall for the scams. Olu Agbi says the these people are not victims at all, they are as greedy and as guilty as the criminal running the scam. They should be jailed along with the scammers.

Though, of course, there are exceptions. The elderly who are prone to trusting anyone who pays the slightest attention to them or asks for their help, are the easiest target. The vast majority of rubes are, in fact, greedy, desperate, and/or just plain stupid. Like prostitution, these scams would not exist if there was not a willing participant, dupe, or john. As prostitutes are arrested and jailed, and so are their clients. If one is to be prosecuted, then the scammer and the scammed should both be prosecuted.

If not that, let the buyer beware, a fool and his money are soon parted, bitter experience is the best teacher, fool me once shame on you - fool me twice shame on me, and a host of other folk wisdom, which we call after accumulation common sense, should prevail in the market place.

Investigation and prosecution leads to extra costs to the taxpayer. Allowing nature to run its course is not very neighborly, but in the long run, is much cheaper for everyone, except the rubes, who will be more wary next time. Ironically, non-enforcement could actually make better citizens who take of themselves or suffer their own punishment for being fooled, duped, and swindled.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Anonymous said...

The victims are already being punished by being condemned to life of perpetual stupidity. Don

Gayle said...

I agree with Don!

It's hard to believe there are people who would fall for this, but there must be scads of people who do or they wouldn't even bother sending these e-mails out. It's truly sad.

Indigo Red said...

Absolutely true!

bernie said...

They are not all scams, in fact one of the Nigerian letters I received resulted in my bank account suddenly accumulating more than 4 million dollars. Unfortunately I can only keep 2 million of it and according to the agreement I made to Umpah Dumpah, General Secretary of the Nigerian Bank, I must share the other two million with another American. I guess the generosity of Nigerians knows no bounds and they feel that I should pay some of my good fortune forward.

If any of your readers would like the other two million dollars please have them contact me in the comment section of my blog. In order to cover the fees involved in transferring the money from my account to yours please paypal me a non-refundable deposit of $30.00. I will take all the responses I receive and have a drawing for the winner by August 30th of 2009.

Indigo Red said...

Damn. If only I had been more trusting, I could have been a millionaire. I got the same letter from Umpah Dumpah.