It was the granddaddy of all email spam scams, one surely you have seen dozens of times since you opened your first email account. It's the Nigerian scam. The widow of some former Nigerian ruler, banker, businessman or the like, unknown to local officials, is in possession of millions of dollars. The nature of the contact makes the legality of her possessing such money questionable. Her husband somehow managed to squirrel this money away in some secret bank account and if local officials knew, they would undoubtedly confiscate it. So, she needs your help in removing it from the country.
The widow is generous. Usually, she is willing to share 20%-50% of this vast sum for some very simple assistance on your part. Just let her wash the money through your bank account and you can keep your share. Give her your pertinent banking information so she can wire the funds to your account. After this is complete, return the money to her, keeping your share, which, depending on the letter, is generally something from a couple of million to tens of millions of dollars. So easy. So simple.
The first time you received such an offer, it probably leapt off the screen. What is going on here? Could this possibly be true? You work all of your life to get by, and suddenly untold riches are awaiting you, a virtual gift. Not even a Nigerian dictator gets wealthy this easily. Alas, we all recognize that things too good to be true generally are, and this one is too too good. We wistfully click “delete,” with perhaps a tinge of wonder whether maybe, just maybe, it was real. With the passage of time, and dozens if not hundreds of more such emails from Nigerian widows, all doubt about the nature of the offer is erased. We know with certainty that we were being scammed, that someone was trying to get our banking information to empty our account. We were victims. Something needs to be done to compensate us for our victimhood.
Here is the incredibly good news I recently received via email. Something is finally being done to compensate those of us who have been victimized by the Nigerian scam, which must include everyone in the world, except, perhaps, those living in Nigeria. The United Nations has taken up our cause, and has agreed to make payment to everyone who has been scammed from Nigeria, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. The agency is officially known as the United Nations Committee on Scams and Compensation, and the program is The United Nations World Bank Assisted Program. The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) have monitored my transactions, and as a result, the World Bank Assisted Program have agreed to compensate me. U.N. writers repeatedly use “have” where “has” belongs, but this message comes from their financial experts, not their linguistic ones. I am to receive $500,000! This will recompense me for any money I have “loosed” in Nigeria.
In case there is any question about the authenticity of this award, the message points out that my notice has also been sent to the United Nations headquarters, the World Bank, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the new Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. They couldn't possibly fool all of these. But, “aha,” you say. This is not believable. How could Nigeria have a president with the name “Goodluck Jonathan?” That sounds fishy. Well, it isn't. Look it up. The Nigerian President is indeed named “Goodluck Jonathan,” and if that is not an omen that good luck has arrived, I don't know what is.
I certainly will be sending the United Nations Committee on Scams and Compensation my personal information. I am to receive my $500,000 on an ATM card. I can't wait to see what the ATM machine does when I stick that thing into it! I guess the money comes pouring out, like when you hit the jackpot on a Las Vegas slot machine. In the meantime, I will start buying some of those luxury items I have always wanted, in confidence that my financial award will soon be here.