I received a rather lovely but strange email today

Myself, I think he was lucky to come out of it alive. But I’m sure the scammers had lots more rubes on the stick to make up for him once he dried up.

I can’t find it either, but it was a long time ago. Am almost certain it was during a half-summer of backpacking around Europe, which would peg it at 1986.

English is in fact the official language of Nigeria (legacy of being a British colony until c1960)

Nigeria specifically, I can’t say. But I have known or met quite a few Africans, in university or through an African enclave in Bangkok off of Sukhumvit Road. As you might expect, it runs the gamut, from broken to perfect. No doubt it’s the same in Nigeria.

What irritates me on shows where they feature people who fall for this stuff are the “experts” who solemnly insist that anyone could fall for a scam like this.

Yeah, I could believe that a totally ripped millionaire who loves dumpy me needs my money to repair his oil rig. In gift cards. Because British Petroleum won’t return his phone calls. Yeah, I could fall for that.

You have just inspired my next round of shenanigans.

I strongly suggest you read the thread " Scammer calls. Does anyone actually fall for them? and especially Mangetout’s excellent summary here:

As Mangetout says, the scams don’t have to be plausible to everyone. And that’s the point I was making. Those so-called “experts” always say that anyone can fall for these scams, and that is manifestly not true. People who fall for this stuff are desperate, lonely, depressed, addled in some way, or yes, gullible and stupid. That’s not the average anyone.

Wow, can I come live on your planet?

Are you suggesting that the average person will send his or her life savings to someone they’ve never met face to face?

THAT’S what makes you think it’s a scam?

Not life savings necessarily, but there are numerous articles out there about people falling for phone calls, when they REALLY should have known better (like a finance writer nearly falling for an IRS scam). Unfortunately I can’t find either article I recall seeing; my google-fu is weak today. I remember thinking, as I read the first one, that the writer ought to be fired, as clearly she was NOT financially competent. But in hindsight, i think it’s more a tribute to how good those scammers are at what they do.

Are you suggesting you are invulnerable to every kind of deceit?

That’s not the point I was making. Any specific scam will not be plausible to everyone, but there is a very wide variety of scams out there on the menu - so whilst it’s likely that you find implausible the scams you have heard most about, it’s possible that there are types of scam that are off your radar, to which you might fall victim.
People fall for scams when they coincide with momentary vulnerability due to tiredness, distraction, illness, etc. Even the best people are not always at their best.
Another way people fall for it is when the scam coincides closely with an event they have been preconditioned to accept or trust (e.g. the ‘you have a package’ scam when you are actually expecting a package).

I don’t believe there are many people on this planet who are 100% invulnerable to every possible form of scam deception, all of the time.

Most of it, yeah. I’m extremely cynical as a rule. Not to mention jaded and smug.

Well sure. If they had any actual important business to discuss with me, no doubt they can spare a couple extra seconds to address me by my real name.


Yup. It’s the one that nearly got me. I ordered a smartphone from China, I got a bunch of notifications from the vendor about shipment via FedEx. I then received an email, purportedly from FedEx, asking for payment of import duty/tax - it looked pretty authentic with a spoofed sender address, although no specifics about me or my actual consignment, but because of the price of the item I had purchased, I was fully expecting to pay some border taxes, so I clicked the link. It went to a page that looked legit at a casual glance.
I got about halfway through filling the first page when I noticed the URL was a bit weird (although not strikingly so - it looked like the sort of alternative domain a company might buy to host a separate part of their systems (like fedex-paymentportal or something). The key giveaway was that they were asking for more information than they really needed - like my date of birth and my bank account number.
I clicked away before submitting any information, but it was a pretty well-executed scam. If I hadn’t been fully caffeinated, I might have fallen a bit further down that hole.

In point of fact, the timing of the thing was really suspicious - I can’t help thinking that it could be targeted based on leaked info from the vendor of my smartphone, but then again, it’s a big world, and scammers are very active - it might just be a striking coincidence.

My employer has hired a company that sends fake phishing scams to all of us fairly regularly and anybody who clicks the link is told they need to take extra training.

We all laugh at them because they’re usually completely obvious, but some of my tech-savvy colleagues (even those in IT fully familiar with these sorts of things) have actually fallen for them.

There’s just such a wide range of things they can put in these emails that it’s hard to be on guard against all of them.

We all had to change our passwords at one time because my boss fell for a phishing email and then we all got a phishing email from his real email account.

So no, we may not all fall for the lonely heart scams, or send Steam gift cards to somebody we’ve never met, but there are plenty other ways to be fooled.

Similar timing thing happened to me - not a scam but a phishing or virus laden email. I was on the phone to a colleague who was notorious for emailing around funny photos, jokes etc. I hung up and within five minutes got an email from him with an attachment that - had I been on guard - I think I would have recognised as suspicious. But having just got off the phone from him, it seemed utterly likely he would have sent me something at that time and I just didn’t think and double clicked the link. Luckily our anti-virus software saved my ass.