Write Better Emails, Make More Moneys

I received another Nigerian 419 spam mail the other day. Why do they keep coming? I guess it is because of people like John Worley. An ordained minister and a Christian pyschotherapist, his story is truly bizarre and compelling. You can read the full story here.

Worley got suckered into this scam and here is what happened:

In May, 2005, Worley went on trial in U.S. District Court in Boston on charges of bank fraud, money laundering, and possession of counterfeit checks. Worley”™s overseas correspondents, whose real identities he never knew, disappeared, and were never located or charged. With them went more than forty thousand dollars of Worley”™s money and nearly six hundred thousand dollars from the checks. Including credit-card interest, money-wiring fees, long-distance telephone charges, and the tax lawyer”™s bills, Worley”™s losses may have been closer to eighty thousand dollars.

Worley was found guilty on all charges and he was sentenced to two years in prison, plus restitution of nearly six hundred thousand dollars.

Some people make fun of the Nigerian email spam. For example, the 3rd Annual Nigerian Email Conference is hosted here. From their website:

I am Mr. Laurent Mpeti Kabila, a senior assistant leader of the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone. I present to you an urgent and confidential request: I request your attendance at The 3rd Annual Nigerian EMail Conference. This is an excellent opportunity to meet your distinguished colleagues, learn new marketing techniques, and spend your hard-earned money. Attending this conference demands the highest trust, security and confidentiality between us.

There is obviously a very dark and tragic side to this spam. Worley’s story shows how personal greed and poor judgement can lead to tragic outcomes.

Update: This page, How to Protect Yourself from Advance-Fee (419) Scams, is a helpful resource. For Canadians, you can report on such activity at the Spam Reporting Centre.

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