Before I moved to India, I heard alot about 419 scams in Nigeria (you know, those e-mails that you get from princes whose fathers unfortunately died in oil disasters and the money they inherited can't be accessed unless a total stranger provides them a few choice account numbers and international wire transfers?), but I had never actually read about anyone who fell victim to the ploy.
Here, though, there's items in the news every few weeks about some poor schlub handing over lakhs of rupees because he thinks he sees an excellent opportunity in the fine gentleman who would love to share his windfall, if only some kind soul will help him out.
A la HT:
"Two Nigerians were arrested in a black-dollar-scam case in Central Delhi on Tuesday. The two had allegedly duped a West Bengal executive of Rs 3 lakh through e-mail. ... The complainant, Raja Datta, who is working as assistant manager at the Durgapur Steel Plant in West Bengal, had received an e-mail from the two Nigerians saying that they would supply him with a special chemical by using which the black coating on dollar notes would be removed and they would once again become usable. The accused had created an account under a fake name with ICICI Bank. They had provided the account number to Datta and had asked him to deposit the money in it. Datta, who was not aware of their intentions, deposited the money on different occasions in their bank account. 'Datta came to Delhi in April, 2006, and met the duo at Green Park who provided him with the chemical. When the victim opened the consignment at his house he found 35 packets of plain black paper,' said Alok Kumar, DCP."
Completely unscientific, but if you Google "nigerians arrested for cheating," nine of the first 10 resulting links are news stories about police catching men who had screwed Indians out of thousands of dollars. Hah.
If Ziggy can't stop them, I don't know what can. Let my cartoon friend serve as a cautionary tale.