I was listening to NPR's "Talk of the Nation," which has become a daily lunchtime ritual for me, and they had a guy on who runs a website called "The Spam Letters." He replies to spammers with long, amusing anecdotes and stories. I suppose its his way of spamming the spammers.
But what caught my attention most was the mention of a series of spams by Nigerian scam artists. (The section on the website dealing with these letters can be found here: http://www.thespamletters.com/search.php?search=Nigerian).
I got one of these spams when working as the editor of Inscape. I remember really enjoying the email, so much so that I printed out a copy. They're just darned amusing to read. Although English is an official language in Nigeria, the spammers' attempts to sound official equates to a lot of nonsensical drivel. They write as "high-level public servants" that need to use your bank account to transfer $31,000,000 that is being blocked by yaddity yaddity. Apparently by performing this service for them you get 20%. Hold me back!
Their biggest problem, aside from writing in all-caps and sounding like morons, is making the sum so large. Most people do not perform transations anywhere near the million dollar range. Do they think all Americans fly to work in private jets and use $100 bills to smoke gold dust? Well actually, some of them do think this. I've spent time in Senegal and talked to a few people who were under this mistaken impression. But these people were pretty dumb -- dumb in the sense of "partially retarded," not your ordinary run-of-the-mill dumb. Also, let it be noted that the dumb people only made up a very tiny, tiny percentage of the people I met there.
Maybe we can just assume that Nigeria is different (if we're going to make generalizations [which we are] about an entire country). Many Senegalese have told me that Nigeria is considered the armpit of Africa. I have heard similar claims from other West Africans. It certainly doesn't help Nigeria's case that a Polio scourge is ravaging several Nigerian villages because they refused immunization shots. They claimed that Westerners had laced the shots with mind-controlling drugs. Come now, Nigeria, we used up all those drugs on the back of our postage stamps (something has to account for the terrible taste).
But whether Nigeria is an armpit or not, we can be certain of one thing:
"WE, BY VIRTURE OF OUR POSITION AS THE CONTRACT REVIEW PANEL AND BEING THAT WE ARE THE ONLY ONES AWARE OF EXISTENCE OF THE FUNDS, WE WANT TO AQUIRE THE FUNDS FOR OURSELVES."
So what are we waiting for? Let's go make some money!