Thursday, June 21, 2012

The honesty of Nigerian scammers

image This article from a Microsoft researcher poses an interesting question: why do Nigerian scammers say they’re from Nigeria?  It’s such an instant turn-off for people reading it, you’d think that simply claiming to be from somewhere else in the world would dramatically increase their hit rate.  It turns out of course that this is the last thing they want – the viability of scamming relies on having a smallish number of mega-gullible people to target, and what better way to find that group than by getting them to self-select by responding to an email that’s so blatantly dodgy that 99.999% of the population will instantly discard it, leaving a small pool of highly viable targets?

It’s all here, complete with charts and formulae.

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