Life as a Nigerian Magnet…

Talk of an early spring seems to be bringing the Nigerian scammers out of the woodwork in droves – at least they sure to seem to be flocking to MY screen name! For that one person left out there who doesn’t know about the Nigerian scammers, let me explain.

The phenomenon known as the Nigerian 419 scam began, oh, about 2 seconds after the inception of the internet. It is so named after section 419 of the Nigerian Penal Code, which refers to fraudulent schemes. In a nutshell, you receive an email from someone in Nigeria who promises you a boatload of money if you help them move their yachtload of money out of the country. The details vary depending on the scammer. Sometimes it is someone whose rich family member has died and left millions of dollars behind, and the only way to keep the oh, so corrupt government from taking it all is to get it out of the country. Other times the Nigerian government has overpaid on a contract by millions, and your assistance is required to get the extra funds out of the country before they discover their error. No matter the story, it is a scam. Some dumb American thinking they’re going to get rich replies to this email and is at some point solicited for money – either as a ‘buy in’ to the wonderful opportunity or because it is necessary to make their part of the scam work, to bribe an official, etc. The lucky idiots wire the money over and never hear from the scammers again; the unlucky ones actually go to Nigeria to participate in the scam and wind up broke or dead.

That’s how the whole ‘online scamming’ thing started. Now, however, the Nigerians have discovered the world of Instant Messaging. While the 419 crowd is usually out to make thousands of dollars from some poor, unsuspecting sap, the scammers that seek you out on Yahoo Instant Messenger are typically aiming a little lower. We’ll call them Scammer Lite.

These people (both men and women) will IM someone and basically butter them up to try to fast-forward their way into some kind of online relationship. After just a few days they will be professing their undying love and telling you how much they long to be with you. It is only a matter of time before your newfound internet love will need you to wire them some money – either so they can go buy a cell phone to call you, or because their poor mother is sick and needs an operation, or because the cow in their village has died and must be replaced right away. Whatever the reason, they will ask.

Over the last week, I have been IM’d by TWO of these people. I actually allowed the first one to add me to his buddy list, just so I could toy with him. I have been saving our conversations, but I don’t want to post them until after I’ve given him the boot, though, just in case he’s smart enough to click on the little star next to my name on his Yahoo buddy list and reads my blog.

Scammer Boy #2 contacted me today. While we didn’t get far enough into the conversation for me to actually find out where he was from, it was obvious just from his “out there” conversation that he is some kind of scammer. Here’s what he had to say, and keep in mind this is the first communication I’ve had from this person *ever*:

fantasylove_4: hello sis
fantasylove_4: i truely believe all is well

And I TRULY believe that you can’t spell!

fantasylove_4:the way u pretty if u humble yourself and give me that smile u can win the hearts of every man
fantasylove_4: trust me

I just love it when someone that I don’t know tells me to trust them! Oh, ok, sure!

fantasylove_4: love me without fear
fantasylove_4: trust me without questioning
fantasylove_4: want me without demanding
fantasylove_4: need me without restrictions
fantasylove_4:accept me without change

Um, how about I block you without hesitation?

fantasylove_4: for a love so free………will never fly away
fantasylove_4: all the best
fantasylove_4: love is the only force that can transform an enermy into a friend

Have you noticed that I have yet to say *one word* to this whacko?

fantasylove_4: u want to see me
fantasylove_4: i have cam
Me: are you on crack?
fantasylove_4: it pays to be nice
fantasylove_4:u never know who might save u someday

Save me from what, freaky internet predators?

fantasylove_4:by pride comes notting but strive but with the well advised is wisdom
fantasylove_4: call me claude
fantasylove_4:from the motherland filled with peace and love
fantasylove_4: i come in peace
fantasylove_4: and will live in peace
Me: are you sure you don’t mean from the mothership?
fantasylove_4:come on
fantasylove_4:check me out

Then he sends me an invitation to view his webcam.

Me: I don’t want to see your penis, thank you.
fantasylove_4:on cam
fantasylove_4: my face
fantasylove_4:i dont do that
fantasylove_4:can u see me
fantasylove_4: tell me
fantasylove_4: was keeping u from me
fantasylove_4:u busy

Webcam invitation #2.

Me: yes, I am
fantasylove_4:did u see me
Me: no
fantasylove_4:am inviting u
fantasylove_4: see me
Me: no thanks
fantasylove_4:can’t u see me
fantasylove_4: on cam
Me: nope
fantasylove_4: am on cam

Webcam invitation #3.

fantasylove_4: accept my invitation
Me: I don’t want to
fantasylove_4: i got to go now so add me to your list
fantasylove_4: so we can chat
Me: I don’t want to do that either.
fantasylove_4:got quality time to spent with u
fantasylove_4: trust me
fantasylove_4:love is my religion
fantasylove_4:i dont want to lost u

And I don’t want you to *find* me.

fantasylove_4: ok sis
Me: I’m pretty sure I’m not your sister.
fantasylove_4:blood is thicker than water
fantasylove_4: i will not denie u in any way

Good, then send me $500. Now.

fantasylove_4: take it easy cause when one door is closed there are so many opened
fantasylove_4: take care and all the best
fantasylove_4: my sis
Me: does your doctor know you’re using his computer?

I didn’t even bother to change this guy’s screen name. I’m so sure that he’s some kind of scammer, I couldn’t care less who IMs him and harasses him.

My question is, is there anyone on the internet in Nigeria who is NOT trying to run a scam? And why are they all from Nigeria, anyway?

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