We all get them: scam emails that claim to be able to make us millionaires overnight. But why are they so terribly unconvincing? And why do they even admit to being based in places like Nigeria? One Microsoft researcher claims to have the answer.
In particular, we’re talking about the offers to cut you into a deal, which offer a healthy cut of the profits. They normally end up requiring a small transfer of money from the person who’s being scammed to enable the deal to take place. Then another transfer of money, then another until… everything goes quiet.
These scams are normally know as “Nigerian scams”, because that’s where they tend to originate from. But you might also know them by their proper name: advance fee fraud. And they work! Last year, one Nigerian fraudster received a 12-year jail sentence after scamming $US1.3 million from victims.
But why on Earth are the emails written to sound so hugely unbelievable? Who the hell is going to fall for them?
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