We have stipulated from the beginning that the large majority of readers to this blog (i.e. Mom and maybe Janet from Portage, who I featured yesterday, at least for the next couple days until I bore her), know and realize the ridiculous nature of the spam/scam emails regularly presented in the space below.
Janet and I had a conversation off line the other day about whether we should feature the truly sensational or ludicrous as the general populace sees through it like lace in the sunshine. My contention has always been that maybe there's someone out there who resides on the border of naive and sophisticated and it's my job to bring them to my neighborhood of reality . If they do an internet search and stumble onto this, we've done our job.
So, below, we see another preposterous email claiming to be from a Western Union executive, who says that thanks to the Nigerian president, $5 million will be uploaded onto an ATM card and sent to me. In the course of looking up the history of why Nigeria is used so often, I came across a research paper from Microsoft that speaks to a possible reason behind making a solicitation like this that's so out-there, if you will.
The article is lengthy, so I've linked it here if you want to read more. However, the premise is that the cost of sending the original email is negligible and the real work only begins once someone responds. I found the following conclusion to be fascinating:
"Since gullibility is unobservable, the best strategy is to get those who possess (the) quality to self-identify."
So, we are in a battle to reach those who "self-identify," who may wonder about accuracy, who may want to believe there really could be $5 million from the Nigerian government waiting for them.
Without passing any judgment on those folks at all, I simply state today, and every day in this blog, if you get an email like this, just hit delete.
It's not real.
I'm out of the office the next few days, so we'll be back next Thursday.
From: Mr. Shegun Akintomi [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 6:20 AM
Subject: Hello dear customer,
Hello dear customer,
On behalf of the management of entire Western Union Office here, I write to inform you that after the general meeting held on the first of June, we concluded with the federal authority that your funds will no longer be transferred through western union means of sending money worldwide. This issue was investigated and addressed by the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Governing Board of CBN because of the unnecessary delay of your payment. It was further noticed that your funds has been unnecessarily delayed by corrupt agents of some banks and other government officials as well as some Western Union agents in this country. Currently your payment has been recommended and approved by the federal authority that your should choose either to send you an official ATM card or get the funds transferred to you without anymore delays.
It was further noted that it will take much time to transfer such huge amount by western union. This led to the agreement that you will be sent an ATM card with the value of five million United States Dollars
($5,000,000.00USD) or wires the funds directly into your bank account.
This will also put a stop on the hopeless situation created by those officials who claimed to be in charge for your payment.
The federal authority in their view to making this transaction successful, appointed Skye bank director Mr. Shegun Akintomi to take charge. He is the only director in charge for your payment now. You are advised now to stop any further communication with other offices including western union because we are no longer in charge of your funds. If in anyway you received mail stating that you should contact western union, kindly know that it's a fake and it will be treated as such.
Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) ordered federal securities to secretly monitor the director until so as to maintain the instruction as given by the office of presidency. They will monitor him until you receive your funds. Contact Mr. Shegun Akintomi now at firstname.lastname@example.org, office line: +234 902 168 8548. Call immediately you emailed him for urgent instruction on what to do next.
Management of Western Union