Scamalot

Scamalot

Summary: I've been glancing through Michael Peel's Chatham House report Nigeria-Related Financial Crime And Its Links With Britain, off the back of how it was reported in the papers (such as the Metro's "'Nigeria e-mails' cost £150m a year" headline).

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TOPICS: Telcos
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I've been glancing through Michael Peel's Chatham House report Nigeria-Related Financial Crime And Its Links With Britain, off the back of how it was reported in the papers (such as the Metro's "'Nigeria e-mails' cost £150m a year" headline).

Now, we all know the "419 scam" scenario - email rocks up in your mailbox asking you to fund the release of some stash of ill-gotten cash, of which you'll supposedly get a cut - but a couple of things stopped me from writing this up as a fully-fledged story. Firstly, it's based on old data from CIFAS (the anti-fraud body, or one of them at least). Secondly, CIFAS never said these figures were all down to email-based fraud. Thirdly, they never said they were all down to Nigerians either, which makes those headlines this morning rather confused and more than a bit unfair.

One interesting historical fact did emerge from the Peel report, however:

"Advance fee frauds have been around for centuries, most famously in the form of the 'Spanish prisoner' scam. In this, a wealthy merchant would be contacted by a stranger who was seeking help in smuggling a fictitious family member out of a Spanish jail. In exchange for funding the 'rescue', the merchant was promised a reward, which of course never materialized. In the early twentieth century, the Nigerian Customs and Trade even printed a letter from Britain’s ambassador in Spain warning the public in Nigeria to be 'upon their guard' against the scam."

That's irony for you, folks.

Topic: Telcos

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • Scamalot

    YOU ARE MISSLEADING PEOPLES WTIH THIS TOTALLY FABRICATED UNTRUTHS. ALL THESE SCAMMINGS DO NOT COME FROM NIGERIA BUT ARE MACHINATIONS OF NIGERIA'S ENEMIES, SPECIFICALLY BY THE AMERICAN CIA, BENIN, CAMEROON, NIGER, MI5, DAVID LETTERMAN AND OTHERS WHO ARE JEALOUS OF OUR FREEDOMS AND ENLIGHTENMENTS. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO NIGERIA? NO. I THOUGHT SO. YOU DO NOT KNOW OUR COUNTRY. HOW CAN YOU MAKE CLAIMS AGAINST IT? TALK ABOUT SOMETHING YOU KNOW AND KEEP YOUR NOSES OUT OF OUR COUNTRY!
    anonymous