Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 21/05/2002Our readers are jolly nice, but sometimes they get the wrong end of the stick. Young Graeme Wearden, superhack newshound extraordinaire, did a story today about various Nigerian fraudsters getting rounded up.

Tuesday 21/05/2002

Our readers are jolly nice, but sometimes they get the wrong end of the stick. Young Graeme Wearden, superhack newshound extraordinaire, did a story today about various Nigerian fraudsters getting rounded up. These were some of the people behind the '419' scam -- where an earnest relative of some famous chap asks you to help move vast sums of money out of Nigeria, and offers you a sizeable commission if you'll help. Of course, send them your bank details and that's the last you'll hear of them -- save for a dull thud as your account is emptied at the speed of money.

This has been going on for decades - first by fax, and now by email -- and despite intensive investigation by anti-fraud organisations around the world has shown no sign of abating. Until now: a good story, and Graeme got there first.

At this point, things went wrong. A number of readers -- you know who you are -- decided that our hero must therefore be interested in receiving more of the same. The result was a flood, undoubtedly well meaning but a flood nonetheless -- of still more money-grabbing spam into Graeme's already bulging inbox.

As he said dolefully, "I bet Anne Robinson doesn't get stacks of faulty washing machines sent to her after she does a Watchdog." Rumours that he's put an investigation into online landmine sales on hold are, of course, false.