Why Do Online Scammers Say They Are From Nigeria?
A research paper from Microsoft argues it's a method of weeding out the savvy [via Slate
]. [more inside]
The Hidden Dangers of Letter Campaigns.
A series of email petitions
have been circulating over the past year, to prevent the execution of Amina Lawal, a 30 year-old woman found guilty by an islamic court in Northern Nigeria of adultery. Even signature-collecting websites have been set up by local Amnesty chapters (see for example this Spanish A.I. site
But this isn't helping - and is indeed damaging the cause of Amina Lawal, according to BAOBAB, a Nigerian group supporting Women's Human Rights:
...It turns out that letters and petitions, even the few that aren't just chain-letter foolishness, may do more harm than good and that the situation in Nigeria is at once far more complex and less dire than it seems from the outside. There are ways to help, starting with understanding what is really going on...
Good intentions, it seems, aren't good enough if one has little knowledge of what one is campaigning against or for.
About damn time.
If I ever get another email asking me to go to Nigeria on behalf of Mr.Ngkoskusomethingoranother for some large sum of cash I could just...
Can you help a brother out with a little money laundering?
So, I was thinking about this otherwise unremarkable spam while cleaning out my inbox when it dawned on me how familiar it was. I have seen this letter (with slight modifications to suit the contemporary political news from Nigeria) three times in my life. The first one I remember was over 10 years ago
(on oniony paper, soft brown fibery envelope, red mock-official stamp). And I was wondering: how many of you have seen a postal version of this letter? Did I just fluke out, or is this letter so common that it is some obscure junk mail counterpart to Coca-cola, Princess Diana & Baywatch
? I kind of like to think of it as the fraudspam equivalent of the nervous Don Knotts