As part of my ongoing effort to learn about Africa, I read the book 419
by Will Ferguson. It’s about a Canadian who is caught up in the so-called Nigerian scam, and it is also about charity, crime, forgiveness, and retribution. The title comes from the section of the Nigerian legal code that handles punishment of fraud. The general term is advance-fee fraud, because the victim has to pay money upfront in order to receive the promised fortune. Of course, there is no fortune to follow.
Every day, every one of us gets tons of these come-ons, most of which are routed to spam folders. Today, I have someone who is in urgent need of someone who could be trusted to take care of investments on behalf of a good client, someone who wants to let you know that a $10 million the fund can be paid if I am ready to follow advice and work secretly, and someone using this medium to inform each transaction involving the transfer of $ 21,500,000 in a bank in China to me as a receiver. Even better, it is 100% safe, as the paying customer’s deceased. (A few years back, my kid was watching the Futurama movie Bender’s Big Score, and I told him that the Nigerian scam was a real thing. Then I opened my spam folder and showed him, and he thought it was hilarious.)