Nigerian official: Victims of Nigerian scams are greedy and should be jailed

@Taskr36 (13928)
United States
August 24, 2008 3:03pm CST
I'm taking a break from the usual presidential discussions and posting something a bit more international. Just a reminder before you read this, I didn't write it. I'm eternally disgusted by all the Nigerian scams and their government's unwillingness to do anything about it. It seems like the biggest business in that country aside from maybe oil. Now a Nigerian official has decided to blame the victims. And they wonder why people hate Nigeria. By Jacqui Cheng | Published: August 22, 2008 - 10:40AM CT People who fall for so-called "Nigerian scams" aren't victims at all—in fact, they're greedy and should be jailed, according to Nigerian high commissioner Sunday Olu Agbi. He said today that Nigeria has gained a bad reputation because of the scams perpetrated by a minuscule number of people, and that those who find themselves involved with the scams are equally as guilty as those running them. "The Nigerian Government frowns very seriously on these scams... and every day tries to track down those who are involved," Olu Agbi told the Sydney Morning Herald in response to a previous article on Australians falling for Nigerian scams. "People who send their money are as guilty as those who are asking them to send the money." Out of the 140 million people in Nigeria, Olu Agbi said that fewer than 0.1 percent were involved in Nigerian scams. The scams, also referred to as 419 scams or advance-fee fraud, predate the Internet, but have exploded in recent years thanks to the proliferation of e-mail and instant money transfers. Although the scams can take on many forms—from payments for products sold on eBay or Craigslist, to deposits on houses and purchases of plane tickets for "true love" on the other side of the ocean—they all follow the same general theme. Scammers send huge checks to unsuspecting victims with some story attached to explain the overpayment, and the victim is expected to wire back the difference immediately. Eventually when the checks are deposited, they bounce and the victim is out a lot of money. Sometimes, victims are tricked into thinking they'll eventually be paid back and continue to participate in this endless cycle of sending money, especially if the scammer is wooing them romantically (which happens more commonly than one might think, to both men and women). Although this kind of fraud originates from all over the world, it seems to have an unusually high concentration in Africa and, specifically, Nigeria. This has, unsurprisingly, cast Nigeria in a negative light. Olu Agbi said that Nigeria's reputation for being involved with the scams has even hurt the country's ability to land business deals. "[T]hose who want to transact business with us are always very suspicious," he told the newspaper. Still, Olu Agbi's "blame the victim" mentality won't help Nigeria win any friends, but education on how to spot 419 scams and avoid falling for them can certainly go a long way in curbing their growth. After all, once victims stop blindly forking over cash, scammers will have to figure out some other way to make money.
1 person likes this
6 responses
@cripfemme (7719)
• United States
28 Aug 08
I was the victim of such a scam. It was not my fault. These low minded people (and I don't mean all Nigerians. Just these particular ones.) stole my friends email who runs a non-profit organization to support disabled people in entrepreneurial endeavors and pretended to be him. As I know him, I sent the money. I should have thought why is this money going to Nigeria, but hindsight is always 20/20. Finally, after losing $400.00 I called him on the phone and asked what was going on. He responded by asking me what money, and what was I talking about? That's when I realized it was a scam. Not only did these people screw with me, they got him and his organization in trouble because other people fell victim to this scam too. My best advice is even if you know the person who supposedly lending you money (as I did) call them directly and make sure you're talking to them. If possible, even go to their house. I am not stupid, and I should not be in jail. This is insulting. Put the greedy criminal in jail. Restore honor to my friends organization. What did he or I ever do to anyone?
• United States
24 Aug 08
These are really funny as long as you know enough to not respond. Little known fact is that before email, these scams were being run via regular snail mail. Some of my favorite things concerning Nigerian scams are the few people who have scammed the scammers. Don't try it, as some of these people are dangerous, but it has been done.
@Taskr36 (13928)
• United States
24 Aug 08
I actually read a funny one a while back where a guy managed to use the same techniques to scam the scammer. I always wondered whether it was a true story though.
@devylan (695)
• United States
24 Sep 08
It is very sad that people are still so naive, but when they're not educated about such things, you can't really hold any fault over them. It is terrible that the high commisioner would speak so lowly of his citizens, but we are lucky in the United States that even the most ignorant of our citizens are still valued. I won't go into that statement any further because I'm not trying to twist this into another discussion. Bottom line, this saddens me.
@soooobored (1187)
• United States
28 Aug 08
I agree that the issue can't be resolved just by punishing the scammers, had he said the problem "stems from" the victims, then it would be more agreeable. Even that though wouldn't imply blame! Addressing these scams means addressing it from both sides; victims need to be more informed on how to avoid the scams, and the scammers need to be punished for committing them. But no, the victims are certainly not greedy, or deserve to be jailed.
@Jenaisle (3803)
• Philippines
25 Aug 08
Thanks for posting this, people should know about this...and I'm bristling over the Nigerian Official's comment...so now the victims are the ones who are guilty??? That's a lot of crap!...What kind of rationale is that? It is never good to take what is not yours in the first place; and to do this by inveigling people to fork out money which they worked hard for. This is an atrocity which should be punished by life imprisonment with hard day's labor. No wonder Nigeria has no conscience because their officials have a warped sense of what is right and wrong. I know there are good Nigerians too, just like any other race, but they should do something. "Evil proliferates because good men do nothing."I received many such letters but I delete them immediately. There are some elements also in Britain who are part of some scam too. Some of my letters come from there. Don't these people ever have a conscience?Thanks for sharing . All the best.
@ZephyrSun (7387)
• United States
24 Aug 08
I do agree that the government should do something about the scamming, but I also agree that people should be more careful than they currently are. I understand that the elderly are usually the ones that fall for these types of scams but maybe each country's government could take part in some sort of education. Throw one of those public announcments on television every once in a while, get information to the senior centers, those types of things. I believe that education would eliminate a lot of the scams that are out there.